Options floated in proposals to revitalize Claiborne Avenue corridor

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 16, 2013 at 8:33 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 17 at 11:04 AM

NEW ORLEANS-- It's a redevelopment that could fundamentally change a large swath of the city.

As it travels past Treme and into Central City, Claiborne Avenue passes through several distinct neighborhoods in New Orleans. Now, a concerted planning effort is underway to redevelop that corridor.

"It is an area that is needing attention as the whole city does, but we really have got to focus on some unique circumstances here," said William Gilchrist, Director of Place Based Planning for the city of New Orleans.

On Saturday, people in New Orleans got a chance to see some of the ideas being kicked around to revitalize the Claiborne Corridor. At a meeting in Treme, three potential options came up for how Claiborne Avenue could be changed.

"It personifies the best and worst of the city. We have really deep inequity, some real challenges with poverty and educational access," said Flozell Daniels of the Foundation for Louisiana. "But we also have this amazing culture and history, the amazing kind of assets."

The three options looked at everything from where to fix blighted housing to where potentially new parks or streetcar lines could go.

Whether change should also come to the I-10 Claiborne overpass still remains a big question.

"People have different ideas. Some people say, 'well, now we're used to it, and it's there.' And some people say, 'my family lost their whole business and we haven't ever recovered,'" said Amelie Prescott, who was at the meeting and teaches at a school in Treme. "What I think is important is the speaking of these things."

Some ideas include keeping the overpass, but removing some of the off and on ramps. Other proposals envision retail in the currently empty space under the overpass.

"I would like them to get a sense of possibilities, of what can happen and a sense of input, that they have really provided guidance and direction for the team," Gilchrist said.

So far, about 500 people have shared their thoughts on the Claiborne Revitalization Study. Another meeting is set for Monday at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center at 1712 O.C. Haley Blvd. That meeting starts at 4 p.m. and goes until 8:30 p.m.

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