Shuttered boys home In Gentilly gets FEMA grant

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 25, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Updated Friday, May 25 at 6:42 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

They call it demolition by neglect. The old Milne Boys Home campus on Franklin Avenue in Gentilly is overgrown, blighted and in a general state of disrepair.

Blake Wilson lives across the street from what he calls the neighborhood eyesore.

"They really do need to be repaired or demolished or whatever they're going to do with them than just sitting like that," said Wilson.

This week FEMA announced the New Orleans would receive $1.5 million dollars to help repair the administration building on the site.

The city-owned property is managed by the Milne Trust. The trust's chairman attorney Monty Burlingame says the FEMA funds will be added to the money set aside to stabilize the property.

"They'll fix the windows and the doorways, secure the property, do mold remediation, get some of the mechanics back on the property to buildings so they can be basically set up in the future for future use," said Burlingame.

Phase one also includes new roofs for the main three buildings and the demolition of some of the smaller structures on the site.

The Milne Boys Home was practically falling down before Hurricane Katrina further damaged the property. FEMA argues it's not responsible for coming up with all of the cash to put the site back into commerce.

"FEMA's position has always been we'll restore it to the falling apart it was the day of Katrina, not beyond that," said state Senator J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, chairman of the Gentilly Development District. "That's really where that breakdown has been on getting that money."

Morrell says it will take more local, state and private development dollars to fully rehab the property.

"In order to get those top three buildings, those front buildings restored, that's going to require a substantial amount of state capitol outlay dollars and investment to get them over that hump."

Still, the Milne Trust has a long-term vision for the property.

"Our charter is to basically have this property used for children, used for the betterment of kids, male and female and we feel after talking to the neighbors the best use for that would be a charter school, open admissions public charter school," said Burlingame.

Phase one is expected to begin before the end of the year. There is also a plan to renovate the Milne gym and use it as a community center.

 

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