City Center Celebrates Opening Of New Stallings St. Claude Center And Pool

NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City officials and FEMA opened the new, $6.2 million Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool at 4300 St. Claude Ave. in the Bywater neighborhood. This new 17,000-square-foot facility replaces the previous 13,000-square-foot community center that was damaged during Hurricane Katrina.

         The Stallings St. Claude Center, which was originally built in 1948, is the second of three New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) recreation centers to open this year. The Sanchez Center at 1616 Caffin St. in the Lower Ninth Ward opened in June and the Rosenwald Center at 1120 South Broad St. in the B.W. Cooper neighborhood will open this fall.

         “The Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool provided the Bywater, St. Claude and Seventh Ward communities with a variety of recreational and educational opportunities for decades until it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina,” Landrieu said. “Today, we celebrate the rebirth of this important community anchor. The redevelopment of this important facility is one of my administration’s 100 committed capital projects and has been a top priority. The Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool is once again open to the public and will serve as a place where our city’s youth can seek enrichment and where parents can watch them play and grow.”

         The Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool is named for Olive A. Stallings, known as the “mother of playgrounds in New Orleans.” In 1906, she established the first “play center” in New Orleans, the Poydras Playground, at her own expense. When the New Orleans Playgrounds Commission was established in 1911, she served as its first president, a post she held continuously until her death in 1940. At her death, she left one-fourth of her estate to the playgrounds system, which would soon become the New Orleans Recreation Department.

         U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond said, “Our youth need a space available to them that is designated for positive and productive activities within the city. The Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool will provide a safe, state of the art facility where young people can participate in a variety of enriching activities. Every dollar spent providing these types of environments help our kids to stay out of trouble and on the right path.”

         District C City Councilmember Nadine M. Ramsey said, “This is a great day for Bywater and St. Claude communities. The renovations to the Stallings St. Claude Recreation & Pool Center are outstanding. This facility has traditionally been a gathering place for the community. With its reopening, Bywater and the surrounding communities will again have a place to support a vibrant and healthy lifestyle. It’s a wonderful addition to this thriving neighborhood and I’m so happy to see it open again.”

 

THE NEW STALLINGS ST. CLAUDE CENTER AND POOL

 

         Amenities at the new Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool include a new community center featuring a full-size gymnasium; fitness room; multi-purpose rooms for dance, music, and activities; renovated pool and pool building; recreation field; basketball court; parking area and driveways; bike racks; and, new landscaping.

         Vic Richard, CEO of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission said, “This is an exciting day for NORDC, this community and the entire city of New Orleans. The new Stallings St. Claude Center is a great addition to the growing number of state-of-the-art recreation facilities across New Orleans. With the addition of this new recreation center and pool, we continue to make remarkable progress and positive steps towards our goal of becoming the best recreation department in the country.”

         NORDC Chairman Roy Glapion said, “Once again, as ONE team we the NORD Commission, Foundation and Administration have kept our promise to deliver this recreation center to enhance the lives of all of our residents. I would like to personally thank everyone who took part in making this project a reality, particularly the Booster Clubs, Coaches and Advisory Teams and volunteers. You are part of our team and your commitment is evident in this community we all love. We are working together to make the programming associated with Stallings St. Claude Center a success. Please use this facility. It is yours to enjoy! It has been my pleasure to serve this community as the NORD Commission Chair and I thank you all for the opportunity to do so.”

         NORD Foundation Chairman John Sibal said, “The NORD Foundation Board of Directors is proud to support the opening of another quality recreation center for New Orleans citizens. We want to express our gratitude to the donors who helped us purchase the fixtures, furnishings and equipment for the Stallings St. Claude Center: Boh Brothers Centennial Fund, First NBC Bank, Goldring Family Foundation, Legends of Basketball/ National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA), Tom Moran and Mutual of America, Pool Corp, and the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation.”

 

FUNDING AND CONSTRUCTION

 

         Funding for this $6.2 million project comes from FEMA public assistance, insurance and City bond funds. The new Stalling St. Claude Center and Pool was designed by Lee Ledbetter & Associates of New Orleans and constructed by Construction Master, Inc. of New Orleans. True Wall Enterprises LLC, Jesco Enterprises, Diverse Building Enterprises, EZ Lopez Painting, Simmons & Simmons General Contractor, Epoxy-It, Boines Construction and Equipment Company, and Baker Ready Mix served as DBEs on this project.

         Cedric Grant, Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, said, “The Stalling St. Claude Center and Pool is now open to once again serve as a safe place where the young and old alike can come together and enrich themselves in sports, arts, and education. The Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool will anchor further investment along St. Claude Avenue and in the Bywater neighborhood. This is an exciting year for the City and NORDC as this recreation center joins the new Sanchez Center in the Lower Ninth Ward and the soon to reopen Rosenwald Center in B.W. Cooper.”

         Mike Womack, FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office Executive Director, said, “The opening of the Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool represents another great example of the city’s revitalization following Hurricane Katrina. As we approach the tenth anniversary of this historic storm, FEMA remains committed to assisting the city of New Orleans in its recovery efforts.

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