Feature Article - August 2011
Find a printable version here

Dealing With Disaster

Disaster Plans Are Vital for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facilities

By Deborah L. Vence

As for New Orleans City Park (NOCP), plans are under way to rebuild the park destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Back in March 2005, a $115 million master plan—City Park 2018—was created to help rebuild parts of NOCP, but more was added to the list following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

So far, the NOCP has raised $84 million toward its goal of $143 million. The money has been raised through a combination of federal, state, local and private donations.

"Our message is that we are not just repairing hurricane damage, but rather that we are building a better park," Hopper, of the NOCP, said.

Since Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, the 1,300-acre City Park has accomplished the following:

  • Built the Goldring/Woldenberg Great Lawn, a $2.7 million development that was part of the original master plan.
  • Constructed the new Big Lake area. "There are beautiful paths that go out into the lake, and shoreline grasses. It's just beautiful," Hopper said.
  • Renovated flood -damaged Tad Gormley and Pan American Stadiums.
  • Renovated the practice track surface.
  • Renovated the North Golf Course.
  • Renovated the Casino Building.
  • Installed four miles of new sidewalks and jogging paths.
  • Completed Carousel renovations and installed two new rides in the Amusement Park.
  • Replanted the Botanical Garden and renovated all of its buildings.
  • Installed a new high-tech playground.
  • Repaired all Storyland exhibits and added two new ones.
  • Planted more than 4,000 trees.
  • Used 35,000 volunteers who have made dramatic improvements in the park.
  • Demolished several hurricane-damaged buildings.
  • Repaved Harrison, Wisner, Robert E. Lee and Marconi.
  • Landscaped the entrance to the park.
  • Opened the new dog park, called City Bark! "The dog park was in our plans as part of master plan," Hopper said, adding that it cost $645,000 to build. "Again, it was a case of we could put a chain link fence and call it a day, but the dog park has won several awards in the country. We did it right. People use it and respect it."
  • Finished a 250-car parking lot.
  • Built a new fishing pier along Marconi.

"Many parts of the park look better than they have in decades. The park is looking good," Hopper said.

Additional information on what the NOCP will be doing to rebuild the park can be found at www.neworleanscitypark.com.