Representatives from the City of New Orleans and Durr Heavy Construction met with members of the public Wednesday evening to discuss the implementation of Lafitte Greenway, a 2.6-mile bike path and public green space slated to extend from Basin Street to North Alexander Street.
An audience of more than 50 showed up to learn details about the project’s construction. Groundbreaking for the project is slated for March 25, according to Hayne Rainey, the communications manager in Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office.
Construction is set to begin with two crews, according to Mark Jernigan, the director of the city’s Department of Public Works. The first crew will begin at North Claiborne Avenue, and the second crew will begin at South Broad Street.
City officials also provided details about the scope of the project, which is designed to include bike paths, walking paths and a soccer field, but no football fields, and answered questions about what city residents can expect during construction, such as soil removal, lane closures, limited access to construction areas and more.
During a public comments section of the meeting, audience members expressed concern over the park’s future maintenance.
Neighbors were particularly concerned about the implementation of rain gardens, or low-level landscaping designed to catch and filter storm water. The purpose of the rain gardens are to help filter toxins that would otherwise end up in the sewer system, according to a presentation given by Jernigan, but at least one audience member was worried that the project would be too high-maintenance for the city to effectively oversee.
During the meeting, City Councilwoman Susan Guidry said that she was excited about the project, but that city officials had their work cut out for them.
“I know for a lot of you this is like, ‘pinch me and make sure it’s real,’” Guidry said about the long-awaited project.
“We only have the funding for what you see now, but we need to work on the management for sure, and we need to work on the funding going forward,” Guidry added. “We’ll see how this is going to shape up.”
Read below for live coverage of the event: