Park Planned for New Orleans Waterfront

NEW ORLEANS, April 16, 2003 – The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit conservation organization, today announced it will work with the Port of New Orleans to create a new waterfront public park which will stretch for almost a mile along the Mississippi River in the downtown section of the city.

The park would total 17 acres and would stretch along 4,800 feet of riverfront between Jackson Avenue and Race Streets, ranging from 100 feet to 120 feet wide.

“We look forward to working with the port and the people of New Orleans to build this park and provide open space for the people to enjoy along the water,” said Larry Schmidt, director of TPL’s New Orleans office.

The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans recently voted unanimously to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with TPL and reserve the St. Andrew, Celeste and Market wharves, along with a portion of the Orange Street wharf, for potential redevelopment as a park.

“The Port of New Orleans wants to maximize the riverfront’s tremendous potential as an engine for economic growth and community development,” said Gary LaGrange, Executive Director for the port. “With the focus of the city’s shipping industry moving to larger facilities elsewhere on the river, that means older wharves will be available for new uses. We are pleased to be working with TPL on this exciting proposal which will re-establish the Mississippi River as the centerpiece of public life in this great city.”

Signing of the MOU is the first step in creating the park, Schmidt noted. “The components of the park will be determined through a public process,” he said. “We expect it will include bike trails, a landscaped park and it may also include public performance spaces like an amphitheater. We will work closely with the City Planning Commission and the Riverfront Development Advisory Committee to coordinate this project with other proposed work on the downtown riverfront.”

The project is expected to take at least seven years to complete and cost between $35 million and $50 million, with funding to come from a mixture of public and private sources.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, and ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations, and businesses.