Once the scene of drug use and other illegal activity, Hunter's Field Playground may be making a turnaround.
Last May, WWL-TV spoke with Rudolph Duponte about the dangerous conditions at the playground. Used needles, condoms and open drains were at the playground at the time.
"Somebody could fall in there and cripple themselves or kill themselves,” Duponte said previously. “It's ridiculous."
The city broke ground on a new Clubhouse for the playground on Wednesday. The $ 1.8 million project will include, not just the clubhouse, but landscaping, street furniture, a concession stand and NORD programs for all ages. Getting to this point has been an uphill battle.
"We almost lost the historical value of the original building that was built in 1968 because of Katrina,” CEO of NORD Vic Richard said.
Since WWL-TV's report last May, Richard says the city has taken steps to better secure the park. A quick sweep of the park on Wednesday didn't turn up any of the issues found there six months ago. Maintenance crews will be patrolling the area and soon the city will install closed circuit security cameras. It's all part of an effort to keep criminal activities out so children have a safe space to play. Richard says he knows personally how important that is to kids.
"I grew up in one of those neighborhoods and we didn't have a green space, we played out in the street,” Richard says.
Richard is thrilled to give a park to the 7th Ward that generations can enjoy.
"We're very proud and very excited to build this place back, not like it was, but better than it was,” Richard said.
The project is expected to be finished in Spring 2018.