Vote: What Public Projects Would You Like To See In Jefferson Parish?
Fat City improvements, parking lot enhancements, Wetland Education Center among options
METAIRIE, La. – A waterfront park that stretches from Louis Armstrong Airport to the French Quarter, a greener Elmwood Shopping Center parking lot and a Louisiana Wetlands Education Center with a water taxi to Grand Isle.
Those are three of six projects that have been studied for Jefferson Parish and residents are asked to vote on their favorite.
Louisiana's Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE) held community meetings outlining these projects and will use public preference both in person and in online surveys as a contributing factor to which projects come to fruition. LA SAFE would provide significant funding in each of the projects.
Other factors to determine which projects are realized include leveraging funds, public benefits and improving flood insurance rates.
The six proposed pilot projects for Jefferson Parish include:
Re-Green Elmwood – A model for sustainable parking lot design that will introduce natural elements, landscaping, permeable paving and other green infrastructure to reduce flooding and enhance Elmwood’s future economic potential. Pervious paving, green space, vegetation and underground detention components draw and filter stormwater and reduce flooding. Natural green features will promote walkability. Projected cost: $9.4 million
Gretna Park – Gretna Resilience District Kickstart. The Gretna Resilience District Kickstart project will kickstart two major components of the Gretna Resilience District: Gretna City Park and the 25th street Canal. Improvements to the park include greater stormwater retention, enhanced entryways, pathways and signage, additional seating and pavilions and the installation of a dock that will connect visitors to the water. Canal improvements include green infrastructure features to mitigate flooding in the area. Canal enhancements include the creation of recreational amenities for biking, walking and interactive community spaces. Projected cost: $11.5 million
Louisiana Wetlands Education Center – A multipurpose resource facility in the Lafitte area that will be a destination for students and families with actives and exhibits that showcase wetland ecosystems, preservation and adaptation strategies and the traditional arts and crafts of wetland areas. The project would include meeting rooms for private research as well as interactive and static galleries and exhibits featuring turtles, spiders and baby alligators. The project would include an extension of the existing elevated wooden walking trail through cypress swaps including various docks, observation platforms and picnic areas and a Fishing Village, with rental cabins, outdoor classrooms, tour boat and water taxi dock to Grand Isle. Projected cost: $12.1 million
Fat City Green Block – The Fat City Green Block strategy includes the redevelopment of part of a block in Fat City to include a library, police station with first floor retail and additional retail buildings. The projects proposes a phased introduction of public amenities and recreational green space designed to manage stormwater including retention ponds. Projected cost: $5.6 million
Mixed-Use Housing Development In Westwego – A Mixed-Use Housing Development in historic downtown Westwego would incorporate ground floor commercial space for neighborhood amenities like restaurants or cafes as well as approximately 30 housing units. The plan also provides outdoor community space and a pavilion for markets, concerts and other community events. This prototype will model land use and building design strategies that can be replicated in other high ground areas. Denser, mixed-use buildings attract local businesses like coffee shops and retail shops within walking distance. Projected cost: $10-$12 million.
Airline Water Park – Not a water park with slides- the proposal is for a waterfront park that will introduce a linear community space adjacent to Airline Highway between the Soniat Canal and Roosevelt Boulevard. The park would provide stormwater management features, offer recreational opportunities and support complementary community revitalization efforts for an underserved area of Jefferson Parish. The vision is create a regional park stretching from Louis Armstrong Airport to downtown New Orleans. Projected cost: $12.9 million.
Jefferson Parish residents are asked to rank the projects in an online survey at https://lasafe.la.gov/. The survey will be available for two weeks. Click on the red Jefferson Parish icon to being the survey.
-By Jenny Peterson, Associate News Editor, Biz New Orleans