Nungesser at the Park

Louisiana’s Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser speaks about improvements planned for Sam Houston Jones State Park in Moss Bluff at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

MOSS BLUFF — Louisiana’s Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser announced Wednesday that Sam Houston State Park is on track for major improvements, in large part, as a result of the state’s settlement with BP for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

The park is set to receive $1.9 million to cover the construction of 10 deluxe cabins, the installation of air conditioning and other upgrades to the pavilions, and new construction and renovations of bathrooms.

“This will be the jewel of the park system in the State of Louisiana,” said Sen. Ronnie Johns of Sulphur in comments prior to the announcement at the park on Thursday.

Nungesser told local and state officials that the funding will help take advantage of the opportunities the 1,087-acre park has to offer. He said funding from the settlement and the state, along with private-public partnerships promise, “the sky is the limit.”

Nungesser promised the park system won’t allow “anyone to come in who would hurt local business” or disturb the quality of life. “We want to make sure it’s a win-win,” he said. “I believe one day you’ll see state parks as a money generator not needing state tax dollars.”

“You’ve got revenue generation here that’s going to make this park become revenue neutral or make money,” said Cliff Meliues, director of operations for the state’s park system. Meliues noted that three years ago the park was losing around $158,000 a year. “This year we’re only down $13,000,” he said.

Also on the list of potential projects are zip lines, rock climbing, canoe rentals, horseback riding, concessions stands, and a restaurant.

Nungesser said area residents can decide what they want to see at the park, whether it be a water pad, lazy river, or a petting zoo. “You are going to decide what those projects are going to be,” he said.