NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— 40 years after the closing of Pontchartrain Beach, The Lakefront Management Authority is moving ahead with a plan to revive it, but some neighbors say the plans won’t be an improvement to their quality of life.
In years past, Pontchartrain Beach was a popular spot with amusement park rides and family fun until it closed in 1983. Although amusement park rides are not part of the new revitalization plans, developers want a bustling beachfront, yet neighbors feel this will cause problems in their neighborhood.
Harold Matherne has lived in the Lake Oaks subdivision for 33 years, and he says he opposes the current plans to revitalize Pontchartrain Beach.
“Lake Oaks is a quiet neighborhood. It is secure. We haven’t had much of a crime problem,” Matherne said.
He’s worried about several issues that could arise with the redevelopment of Pontchartrain Beach on the Lakefront.
“Parking, traffic, litter, noise, security are really the key things,” he said.
The Pontchartrain Beach Foundation plans to turn this area into a beach oasis where visitors can swim, picnic, enjoy water activities, and host events like weddings.
“In our opinion, it can be done properly, can be used by a lot of folks, but doesn’t impact the neighborhoods,” he said.
Neighbors say this isn’t a case of ‘not in my backyard,’ they do support revitalization.
“We are not anti-development. We would like this property to go back into use. We just do not like what these developers are proposing,” Ashley Haspel, The President of the Lake Terrace Property Owners Association said.
Haspel said she has safety concerns on opening up the beach.
“There are no plans on having any lifeguards. I also have concerns about the water quality, the DEQ released a 2022 report and the water quality is going down. It is not improving, it is actually getting worse,” she said.
Guy Williams with The Pontchartrain Beach Foundation says according to the Pontchartrain Conservancy studies, they show that scientists found the water is safe to swim in and their main objective is to open the area for people to use and enjoy. They feel it will offer many benefits.
Still neighbors aren’t convinced this plan will work.
“There are lots of unanswered questions, and we’ve been asking for two years,” Haspel said.
Neighbors will voice their concerns to the Lakefront Management Authority and Pontchartrain Beach Foundation tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. at St. Pius School gym. Then on Thursday, May 25th, the issue will be voted on at a meeting to decide if these plans will move forward.