Lafitte Greenway project clears blight, almost complete

NEW ORLEANS -- Drive between the French Quarter and Mid-City and it isn't hard to miss, construction crews working hard to complete the Lafitte Greenway.

But there is a big eyesore next door, and the city of New Orleans plans on carting it away.

It is piled high for passersby to see near the intersection of Lafitte Street and North Broad Avenue. Mountains of broken stop lights and streets signs sit in a lot nearby owned by the city.

"The contractor is on schedule. Overall the project is 60 percent complete," said Public Works Director Mark Jernigan about the Lafitte Greenway Project's construction.

The project is inching closer to the old Public Works Sign and Signal Shop. That is where old signage and other materials are stored but soon, they will be carted off to a home.

"We're going to be moving it to the DPW maintenance yard on South Genoise Street to kind of consolidate DPW operations there. It makes a lot of sense from a management perspective," said Col. Jernigan.

City officials confirm the Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path is on schedule. A bird's eye view of the project shot by Nola Aerials in October shows recent progress along the 2.6 mile trail and park, which will eventually connect the French Quarter to Bayou St. John and Mid-City.

"People are eager to get out there and start biking, walking and riding on this new amenity," said Friends of Lafitte Corridor Executive Director Sophie Harris.

As the city moves forward with construction, a group called Friends of the Lafitte Corridor says it just received technical support to brainstorm with community stakeholders on how best to build and fund community gardens and a market place along the Greenway.

Harris said all these milestones are igniting a redevelopment boom along what has traditionally been a blighted and industrial stretch of city blocks.

"There's been tremendous investment with affordable housing; the Faubourg Lafitte Development, the redevelopment of Iberville. The Refresh Project, the Whole Foods Market coming online. We've heard the Lindy Boggs building is in the process of being redeveloped," added Harris.

City officials expect the Lafitte Greenway Project to be complete by spring 2015. The price tag is $9.1 million.


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