You could call it a surprise Christmas gift.

It certainly came as a surprise. Work began this week on the new walking trail that will be featured at Abbeville’s Lafitte Drive-in Park. The park is located at 105 John Hardy Dr. Originally, the schedule didn’t have that happening until early in the new year.

“I was surprised this morning,” Councilman Francis Plaisance said during Tuesday’s regular City Coun- cil meeting. “It wasn’t supposed to be until the 17th of January, but they have started.

“It’s a perfect day.”

Plaisance thanked new Public Works Director Chris Gautreaux for his efforts.

“Thanks for helping to get that going early,” Plaisance said.

In total, the trail will be a little more than 2,800 feet. At around a cost of $140,000, the project is being funded largely from a grant of more than $100,000 from the state. Pa- triot Construction Company is han- dling the work.

Engineer Gene Sellers explained that adjustments in the company’s schedule allowed for an early start. “They will continue until Christmas Eve,” Sellers said on Tuesday. “They will take off and then start again on Monday. They will work three days before taking off the New Year’s holiday.

“Then, they will get started again.”

Sellers said work this week included aerating the area.

“They are drying the surface that will be insulated,” Sellers explained, “so that they can lay out the asphalt.”

Work is expected to be completed by the spring. Plaisance, who has worked closely with the park’s development during the past several years, said there are other new highlights.

“Exercise stations have been completed thanks to Charlene Beckett, Main Street Director,” Plaisance said. “It is an exciting time, as Lafitte Park continues to be developed.”

By Shaun Hearen; Originally published in the Abbeville Meridional, 12/24/21