Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS- Each time Lynette Sparrow passes the decaying amusement park near her New Orleans East home, one thing comes to mind.
"It seems like no one cares anymore," said Sparrow, secretary of the nearby Oak Island subdivision's Homeowner's Assocation.
The former Six Flags site in New Orleans East has been languishing since Hurricane Katrina. Even city councilmembers admit it's not well-secured or maintained. District D Councilman Jon Johnson said vandals have broken in to steal copper and even large parts of rides.
Over the years, some have snuck in to capture chilling images of empty rides, broken windows and fading figurines.
"It seems like hopelessness since Katrina, and even before," said Sparrow.
But after six years, the city's taking a step to change that. Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration put out a call for bids Wednesday, hoping a developer will bring the abandoned property back to life.
"It is a major economic development that would speak volumes for this region, not just New Orleans East, not just the city of New Orleans, but this region," said Johnson.
The request for proposals invites bids for the likes of an amusement park, water park, retail center, or even a backlot for the growing fim industry. However, bids for residential development will not be accepted.
According to Johnson, there are already too many homes in New Orleans East that need to be redeveloped.
"I would like to see something for families, because the children, we have nothing for them out here, we don't have a park or anything," said Sparrow.
The city will even pay to remove rides and buildings, at the buyer's request. But in a tough economy, Johnson believes, it'll be tough for anyone to get the financing it would take to redevelop the site.
"I think one of the reasons you have not seen a lot of activity, and you have not heard a lot about that site, is because, again, it is so difficult to find funding right now," said Johnson.
That's frustrated neighbors for years.
"We have heard many other proposals over the last six years, but it seems like nothing has ever became of any," said Wilmot Washington, vice president of the Oak Island Neighborhood Association.
Still, those like Sparrow remain optimistic.
"I never give up hope, if you give up hope, you'll never have anything," said Sparrow. "You can't stay down forever. You have to come up."
The city will accept bids until Oct. 10. A city spokeman said officials are working to better secure the site. They are also working to auction off the site's rides or their parts, which the city now owns.
The city still owes $13 million in loans taken out to build the park in the 1990s.