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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- The popular Uptown river levee spot called The Fly is being thrown into the center of a massive construction project.

The Army Corps of Engineers is raising the levee several feet, impacting recreational activities in the area.

A stretch of the Mississippi River levee near Audubon Park has become an unofficial dog park. Robert Devecca likes to take strolls here, but the area will soon be off limits.

'Everybody likes to bring their dog out here,' he said. 'It's a shame that they're going to disrupt such a popular area.'

The Army Corps of Engineers held an open house Thursday night to update the community on plans to raise 10,000 linear feet of the levee.

'We're doing a 1 to 2 foot levee enlargement,' said Durund Elzey, the senior project manager for the Mississippi River Levee Program. 'It's to get the Mississippi River levees up to its designed, authorized elevation. This work will provide risk reduction to the greater New Orleans area.'

The project means that the unofficial dog park and some soccer and baseball fields will be closed to the public. Drivers trying to get in and out of The Fly should also expect detours.

'There will be some impacts to bikers and joggers as we will have to close off the multipurpose access road for the duration of construction,' Elzey said.

Glenda Stiller runs Riverbend Stables. She stopped by the meeting to see how the project will impact her horseback riding business.

'We're trying to figure out, are we still going to have access to the levee or are we going to have to cut through the neighborhoods?' she said. 'Then you have safety issue with loose dogs. You never know for the horse and the rider.'

With the project expected to last 12 months, one Uptown resident is trying to make sense of all the inconvenience.

'I can't see how raising a small portion will be any effective flood control,' Devecca said. 'So I'm a little confused and what the logic is of raising this section of the levee and not the whole rest of it, which goes hundreds of miles.'

Rumors had been circling that The Fly would be off limits for at least a year. The Army Corps of Engineers says that's not true. You'll still get a chance to enjoy the river view, but the public will be impacted.

The project kicks off in November and is expected to cost about $5 million.

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