Hodges Gardens State Park faces closure due to funding cuts - FOX29 Lake Charles

Hodges Gardens State Park faces closure due to funding cuts

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One of the largest tourist attractions in Louisiana and the nation could close because of state budget cuts.

The Office of State Parks received a notice of default from the Hodges Foundation in anticipation that the park will not be funded properly for the upcoming fiscal year. 

"Our legislators have to make very difficult decisions." said Chris Nolen, president of the Friends of Hodges Gardens, a volunteer organization that restores and maintains the gardens. "But it's our role to let them know the importance of this park, not only to the surrounding parishes, but statewide."

Ken Freeman, mayor of Many, La.,  agreed and said keeping the park open should be a priority for the state. 

"We as a community are not going to sit on our hands and watch it go away," said Freeman. "It's a true Louisiana treasure and it's worthy of being saved."

The Office of Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser released a statement regarding the communities concern over the park's potential closure. 

"Leadership from the Office of State Parks and the staff of the Lieutenant Governor will be in attendance at the meeting to listen to the community's proposal regarding the future of Hodges Garden, as we work to manage the department during these tough budgetary times. We thank the Mayor and legislators for their leadership and cooperation on this effort."

The town of Many will have the meeting to discuss the future of the park's funding at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 23, with state legislators at the Sabine Theater.

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