NEW ORLEANS -- After two years the wait is finally over. The construction barricades are up and soon crews will be breaking ground on the long-awaited Lafitte Greenway Project.
One year from now a single 12-foot wide bike path will weave together several communities, starting at Basin Street in the French Quarter and ending just a few blocks past Carrollton Avenue in Mid-City.
"Around that pedestrian path will be things like soccer goals, softball fields, rain gardens, bio-swells, native plants, over 500 shade trees, lighting," said the CEO of Friends of Lafitte Corridor, Samuel Spencer.
Spencer helped spearhead the project, which is a first of its kind in New Orleans. In next few days He says Durr Heavy Construction will break ground on the 2.6 mile greenway.
"We think it is going to be trans-formative for new Orleans and we think new Orleanians will embrace it and it is going to up their quality of life," said Spencer.
Mid-City resident Sergio Vasquez Could not agree more. He loves to bike to City Park with his wife and says he can't wait to have a new bike-friendly place to ride.
"It is already a good area and this will only add to the area and make it a better community and have more things for people to do," said Vasquez.
Like many residents, safety is a big concern for Vasquez and says his happy to know the area will be well lit.
"You really have to use common sense and look out for yourself. But the fact that it's well lite is a major thing right there," said Vasquez.
Spencer says the entire project was designed with safety in mind and hopes that this will encourage more people to ride.
"For the average person, they are going to take a lot more comfort coming over here and getting on this place where there's no cars," said Spencer.
Even though the construction project is just getting underway, Spencer says his group is already looking to secure more funding to extend the greenway half mile past where it will end on North Alexander Street.
The Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center will host a public meeting on Wednesday at 6 p.m. to answer questions about how residents and nearby businesses might be affected by the construction.
This story was developed with our partners at Mid-City Messenger.
The Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center will also be a hosting a series of children's programs:
Monday , March 17
5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Crescent Park Field Trip - Students will enjoy a series of outdoor drills and physical activity in a space similar to the Lafitte Greenway.
Tuesday, March 18
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Environmental / Gardening Lesson - Students will learn how to respect plants, the process of growing plants and the importance of respecting the nature around them.
Wednesday, March 19
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Kids Public Service Announcement - Students will create and film a safety PSA to demonstrate how to properly cross the street and use crosswalks and bike safety tips such as using a helmet, how to be alert when biking, and how to check your bike to be sure it is safe for riding.
Thursday, March 20
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Curtis Pierre, The Samba Man - Students will learn about respect, responsibility, and fairness through drumming, dancing, and singing.
Friday, March 21
4:45 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Bike Safety - Bike Easy instructors will help children understand the basics rules of bike safety with emphasis on precautions near Lafitte Greenway construction activity.