NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — What started as a dream after Hurricane Katrina is well on the way to becoming reality. The biggest hurdle, the $10 million needed for construction, has been cleared. Now, the board that plans to build the 9th Ward Stadium on the grounds of George Washington Carver High School is asking the public for input before a final blueprint is finished.

Thursday night, Nov. 11, the board hosted the first of two public meetings at the Desire/Florida Multi-Service Center at 3250 Industry St. Organizers invited the public to see the plans so far, get updates on funding and pitch and suggestions that they’d like to see included in a stadium.

Former New Orleans councilman and New Orleans Saints exec Arnold Fielkow is a board member and spoke with the crowd. He detailed where the money for the stadium is coming from: $3.5 million from the state, $3 from HUD community grant money, $1million from the City of New Orleans and another $2.5 million in federal money from the American Rescue Plan.

During the meeting, neighbors could see a drawing of the stadium, but board members are making it clear that there is no final construction plan. In fact, that’s one of the major reasons for the public meetings, to gather input on what neighbors want the stadium to look like and what features they’d like it to have.

Also, while it will be built on land that’s owned by NOLA Public Schools and will be the home field for Carver High, the stadium will be available to other schools, and not just for football.

“It’s going to be track and field, football and soccer,” Board Member Wilbert Thomas, Sr. told WGNO News at Thursday’s meeting. “So, it will be for the whole city of New Orleans, but it will be here in the Upper Ninth Ward, Desire-Florida area.”

Project organizers hope to have final sketches of the project ready by February. Their goal is to have the new stadium complete in 2025. A third party will be hired to operate and maintain the facility. The stadium board also plans to continue raising money for the project to make sure it is as nice as possible.

The next meeting to collect public input is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Desire/Florida Multi-Service Center at 6 p.m.

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