Slidell-Area Voters Decline Recreation District Propositions

SLIDELL, LA – Voters in St. Tammany Recreation District No. 16 shot down two ballot propositions that would have green-lighted construction of Camellia Park, which supporters said would have been a boon for local families and the economy.

         The majority of voters voted against the first proposition, a bond issue to acquire the first 75 acres of land for the project, and against the second proposition, a millage to fund operations of the park.

         "We're disappointed with this outcome, but I'm proud of the work our Board did to put a solid proposal before the voters," said Recreation District 16 Board of Commissioners Chair Sharon Hewitt. "Long before we put these measures on the ballot, we had experienced consultants make recommendations for the park and we held community meetings throughout the district to gauge support and receive feedback. We modified the plans and the millages based on their feedback so that the park would be as affordable as possible.  

         "Even though we spent hundreds of hours over the last eight months talking with groups about the park proposal and sharing information through traditional news outlets and social media, some people still did know much about the proposal,” Hewitt said. “A lot of misinformation circulated in recent days and the anti-tax sentiment was too great to overcome right now.”

         The propositions in recent weeks received support from both Chambers of Commerce, and the Economic Development Foundation acknowledged the economic value of the project.

         "Recreation is good for families, good for public health, good for tourism and good for our economy," Hewitt said.  "Camellia Park is a great investment in our future. We will regroup and consider how to move forward to provide public recreation to the people of District 16."

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