Skip to content

Ouachita Parish Police Jury formalizes $500,000 support for new NELA Children’s Museum

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury approved entering into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) with the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum Monday, March 20 that will move overall funding for a new museum one step closer.  

Approval of the CEA is the last step needed for the Jury to provide $500,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding made available to local government bodies during the COVID pandemic. Police Jury members awarded ARPA dollars allocated to each of their districts to go toward construction of a proposed 22,000 square foot museum in Forsythe Park in Monroe. 

“The outpouring of support from this region for this project is amazing!” said Melissa Saye, museum director. “The Ouachita Parish Police Jury has clearly made improving the quality of life and educational opportunities for our children a priority. We appreciate their support and financial commitment.”

District F Jury member Lonnie Hudson committed to this action along with District D Jury Member Michael Thompson and District C Jury member Larry Bratton who all helped lead the Jury’s funding commitment to the project. “Collaboration with my fellow jurors and other stakeholders on projects like this one is what makes local Government work. We cannot wait to enjoy the excitement in young children’s faces once this new facility is up and running,” said Larry Bratton.

According to Museum Director Melissa Saye, the new museum will be located in the former city swimming pool area of Forsythe Park. Recent demolition and filling in of the old pool has piqued the interest of many Ouachita Parish residents. “Nostalgia for the pool is a part of why making new memories at the future museum makes this move a win-win.  The City of Monroe will lease a portion of the cleared pool area to us and will preserve and renovate the old natatorium building for other uses,” Saye said.

Fundraising for the new educational anchor is a key focus in the upcoming months.  Development Director Dawn Landry said “Our children are our most precious commodity and through local support, we have the opportunity to provide quality educational experiences in a new space that will impact visitors for years to come. We are currently in the final stages of the design of the new modern and spacious museum. This facility is going to be such a source of pride for our region”

Opportunities to donate to the museum can be found at 

Scroll To Top