NEW ORLEANS- "In Algiers Point, everybody rides the Ferry," resident Connie Burks said.
For that reason, Burks knew she had to attend the Ferry Terminal and Pedestrian Walkway meeting.
"I was tickled that a number of times they put up there, 'None of this is designed yet.' Because I think we all needed to hear that," Burks said.
Officials with the RTA first gave a presentation about the ferry terminal design, giving riders and commuters a final update on the project before construction begins.
The meeting then moved on to public input about a new pedestrian walkway. Right now, several options are on the table when it comes to the walkway's location, which includes two sites near the aquarium, one site near the aquarium that crosses Bodine Street, one where the exiting ferry terminal is located and another location behind the World Trade Center building, crossing over the Spanish Plaza.
The terminal has a cost of about $27 million and the bridge has a budget of about $7.4 million," Justin Augsutin, Vice President with the RTA said.
Augustine says the ferry terminal will begin sometime around Mardi Gras. Officials say Tuesday night's public input will be the first of several.
"This is your opportunity on record, to express yourself on record to say exactly what you want," Augustine said.
Two sources of money will fund the pedestrian bridge. That includes $5 million from the city, $1.4 million from the RTA and another $1 million will come from associated funds that the city controls.
"For the ferry terminal itself, there are several sources of money. There are TIGER grants, there are FTA related grants and there's local match from the state," Augustine said.
Dr. Barbara Hollway sees this walkway and terminal as a great opportunity for tourism.
"What I see here is what I enjoy. It's going to attract tourists more and that's what we want," Dr. Holloway said.
Fred Neal Jr, Board President of Ride New Orleans says for him, accessibility is key.
"Location matters. How close it is to the new ferry building matters. We think it's very important that there's a covered walkway. That this new facility keeps people out of the elements," Neal Jr. said.
RTA says they will hold another meeting on the Westbank, January 18 th from 6 to 8 pm at the Algiers Auditorium in Federal City (2485 Guadalcanal Street, New Orleans).
The outline of the projects and presentation will be available tomorrow at www.norta.com. People can also write their opinions on the matter.
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