NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— A major flood mitigation project was put on pause not long after a New Orleans neighborhood was filled with water.

The mayor’s statement said the decision was because of homeowners and neighborhood leadership.

According to Councilman Joe Giarrusso, the project was delayed over a lack of planning and it was a decision the group made together.

“I don’t wanna pin one set of neighbors against another,” Councilman Giarrusso said. “You have Lake Vista who is worried about potentially what would happen with them and Lakeview who also has its own concerns.”

Since the federal funding needs to be used within a 45 day time frame, the mayor decided to reallocate the funding to what she said were more high-priority areas of the city. She mentioned the attention Broadmoor needs but did not explicitly confirm that would be where the money went.

“When you think about my community, Broadmoor, where we are, see we were in that bucket that was screwed [after Hurricane Katrina,]” Mayor Cantrell said. “So we know in order to prevent ourselves from losing our land and ground due to flood control or climate change is through green infrastructure.”

However, neighborhoods like Lake Vista were promised the money which Giarrusso said should be able to see the project through in a way that works for everyone.

“I think we just are looking for collectively whether you’re Lakeview, Lake Vista, or any other stakeholders, let’s get all the answers to make sure we have the best-developed plan available.”

Officials with New Orleans City Park released a statement regarding the project, saying:

“City Park is, first and foremost, a long-term steward of the Park and Park users. While our team continues to work with the City to improve stormwater management issues within the region, we place the wellbeing of our Park as the top priority. We want to assure Park users that we will not approve any plan that places Park assets in jeopardy while exploring the benefits to Park ecology, Park user experience, and incremental flood reduction for impacted neighbors. 

In discussions with City officials, the Park agreed with the City’s position that more time was needed for additional public engagement and project documents to address and resolve City Park’s concerns. The time needed was more than the 45 days identified by the City to finalize plans (approx. July 15) for a public bid that would result in an October 1, 2022 Notice to Proceed, which we understood to be a FEMA deadline. 

While the City Park Master Planning process is completely independent from the HMGP plans, if these planning and design processes overlap, consultants will coordinate their work for any improvements within City Park.  City Park remains committed to the crucial role parks play in comprehensive stormwater management.

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