Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- The Lafitte Greenway Bike and Pedestrian path is picking up steam after years of planning.

Next week crews will break ground on the multimillion dollar project.

'It started as community members walking along this Corridor and advocating for this to become something more,' said Sophie Harris with Friends of the Lafitte Corridor.

A community vision is blossoming into a reality in the form of a $9.1 million bike and pedestrian path that will breathe life back into blocks of neglect.

'The city has been able to tie together so many pieces of property into this contiguous amenity that is going to run through many neighborhoods of New Orleans,' said Harris of the long-awaited project.

The 2.6 mile pathway is expected to connect six historic communities between the French Quarter and Mid-City.

Residents met Wednesday night inside the Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center to hear from city officials on what they can expect. The meeting was also a chance for residents to weigh in.

The project will encompass a 500-plus urban tree canopy; new ball fields; along with lighting, drainage and street crossing improvements.

'I'm kind of a wait-and-see kinda person. This is again initial information and the initial information seems pretty good,' said Mid-City resident Reginald Stanton, who attended the community meeting.

Blighted privately owned properties like the former Winn-Dixie at Basin Street sit in the shadow of the Lafitte Greenway. An attorney for the property owner tells Eyewitness News no plans are in the works but the owner is optimistic about future commercial development.

The city too says it plans on eventually tackling some of its properties, like a public works building and brake tag station that sit forgotten.

'There are other pieces that are going to be added later as part of the master plan to address some of those areas,' said New Orleans Department of Public Works Director Col. Mark Jernigan.

City officials hope to break ground on the first phase of the Lafitte Greenway Project early next week. It is scheduled to take 11 months to complete.

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