Moncus Park will open later this year after the completed construction of both Phases 1 and 2, and park staff is planning a large-scale, multi-day Christmas celebration for December. The new park will feature an off-leash dog park, amphitheater, inclusive playground, interactive water feature, treehouse, Veterans Memorial, four-acre lake, an outdoor classroom, over two miles of walking trails, restrooms, and parking.
Part of the organizational strategy for opening includes new leadership at the board level, as well as transitions within the staff. Current Executive Director, Elizabeth “EB” Brooks, will transition this summer into a new role as “Founder,” with current Operations Director, JP MacFadyen, succeeding her as Moncus Park’s new Executive Director. MacFadyen has an MBA, with a background in operational leadership, business, and supply chain logistics. Brooks, who has master’s degrees in urban planning and urban design, will continue to support the organization as Founder with the design and construction of Phase 3 (including the farmer’s market pavilion and surrounding areas), as well as with fundraising efforts, and institutional knowledge transfer to new board and staff members.
“From the beginning of the ‘Save the Horse Farm’ campaign fifteen years ago, my dream was to see this amazing property develop into a world-class park for the Acadiana area. With the ribbon-cutting just months away, the natural leadership transition is to move toward a staff and board focused on operations, so I started these succession planning discussions with our board leadership last fall. This is the best time to take advantage of JP’s skills to continue to manage day-to-day operations within the park. Our new board members and this exciting announcement of JP as the park’s new Executive Director not only best serve the changing needs of the park, but allow me to stay involved where I’m needed most. It’s been my greatest honor to serve our community in bringing this incredible park to life, and I look forward to staying on in this new role to make this historic grand opening of Moncus Park as great as it can be,” Brooks said.
“If you know EB, you know she has worked tirelessly to bring this visionary project to life for over 15 years, first by running the community campaign to save the property as a park, then by building and running the nonprofit responsible for the planning, design, and construction of these first phases. In one of our region’s toughest economic downturns, she helped secure over $40 million in private, corporate, and public funding to make all of this possible. We owe her a lot for the park’s success, and we’re excited for this next step in her career. We’re grateful that she’s staying on in this new capacity to see the park through its grand opening and to support the park through this important transition. We’re excited about what JP will bring to the role in the years to come, and his skillset and background make him an excellent choice to succeed EB,” said Lenny Lemoine, who has served as chairman of the Moncus Park board of directors since the nonprofit’s founding in 2013.
“For the last eight years, EB and the board have been focused on building a world-class park, and I’m excited and grateful that the board has confidence in my ability to continue this great work in building a world-class organization that offers exceptional operations and guest experiences here. Moncus Park is different from other parks in the area in a lot of ways, and the organization running it will stand out as well. EB and I have a great working relationship, so this plan makes the most of both of our skillsets,” said MacFadyen.
The Moncus Park board of directors grew to include new members this year as well. New board members Kim Bishop, Jennifer Clowers, Danny Gilder, David Laborde, and Will Rucks joined current board members Stanley Blackstone, Dr. Paul Breaux, Dean Cole (Vice Chair), former Mayor-President Joey Durel, Randy Haynie, secretary Payton John (Secretary), Stuart Johnson, Phyllis Coleman Mouton, Jerry Prejean (Capital Campaign Chairman), Jady Regard, Jacob Roberie, and Rodney Savoy (Treasurer) in service. Additionally, Richard Spoon was nominated to rejoin the board to serve as Co-Chairman with Lenny Lemoine. Spoon previously served on the founding Moncus Park board from 2013-2016 as Vice Chair.
“Moncus Park is an important quality of life amenity that has already changed Acadiana for the better. I’m proud of the progress the park and the organization have made in the last eight years under the leadership of both Lenny and EB. Building the park was a huge undertaking, and getting the park open and operational is just as important. I’m excited to bring my organizational skills to bear in this next phase of the park’s history, and look forward to working with JP to continue to help the park succeed,” said Spoon.
The park grand opening date has been set for late 2021, and will include a huge holiday celebration, “Christmas in the Park.