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

According to a plan that will be explained in greater detail next Tuesday, the hospitality industry would raise the money to demolish the World Trade Center and re-imagine the foot of Canal Street in time for the New Orleans tricentennial in 2018.

It is one of three plans for the site now under review by the city.

'It does the one thing that most people in the city have wanted to do for years and that it takes Poydras and Canal and brings those together with an opening to the river in something that will reconnect this city to its essence,' said Steve Perry, President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The World Trade Center, a building that still helps define the New Orleans skyline, has been vacant for the past several years. Prior plans to redevelop the space have never come to fruition.

'What we don't want to happen is there to be some easy fix, adaptive reuse of that building that doesn't help this city make a quantum leap in terms of its cultural economy and traveler economy,' said Perry.

A bill by State Representative Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, would authorize the convention center to sell $184 million in revenue bonds.

The money would to go toward the redevelopment the World Trade Center site and the expansion and improvement of the convention center.

'The studies show that most people who come to the city want to see the Mississippi River,' said Leger. 'They connect New Orleans to that, and I think giving them an opportunity to do that and enjoy the riverfront is something that we've sort of not fully accomplished yet.'

Tourists had mixed feelings about tearing down the iconic buidling.

'This obstructs your view from all around here, so taking it down, making a park or something a little more friendly would probably be a good idea,' said Paul Winger from Milwaukee.

'I don't think it should be torn down,' said Wendy Morrell from Minnesota. 'There certainly could be like shops put here, a restaurant, that type of thing.'

The new Tri-Centennial Park would also include some sort of monument that would be to New Orleans what the Gateway Arch is to St. Louis. Spanish Plaza and the Algiers Ferry Landing would also get facelifts.

'What we're simply doing is putting a flag in the ground on behalf of the hospitality industry,' said Perry. 'Whether it's like the Sidney Opera House or the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, but something that forms a part of this riverfront that's newly envisioned that sets the economic foundation for the economy of the city in the future.'

The city released this statement about the redevelopment plan: 'The City's New Orleans Building Corporation owns the World Trade Center site. The redevelopment of the World Trade Center site will be guided by the open and public competitive selection process outlined in the request for proposals. There have been 3 proposals submitted.'

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