NEW ORLEANS— An urgent meeting by the stakeholders of the Treme community Tuesday night spelled out exactly why folks there don’t want a new city hall complex put in their neighborhood.
Longtime Treme resident Cheryl Robichaux Austin said, “(The proposed development) is massive! Every department in city hall right now would be relocated to the Municipal Auditorium.”
The residents and community groups feel a sense of urgency because the City of New Orleans issued an ‘RFQ’ or request for qualification bid in late April that calls for a new multi-story city hall, a new civil district court building and a parking garage for over 2000 cars all built on the site.
There are 3 proposed plans in the RFQ.
Morgan Clevenger, a cultural advocate stated, “Can you imagine right over there, 10 stories of Civil District Court? Another option would mean a 9 story addition to the Municipal Auditorium. So it’s much much more than anybody could have imagined.”
The city says they’re ramping up they’re efforts because time is running out on the over 36 million dollars in FEMA money set aside to repair the auditorium.
According to NOLA Communications Director Beau Tidwell, “It would be a tremendous mistake to have that level of federal funding to just walk away from. so that’s a big concern for us. Further than that we see it as an investment in the neighborhood.”
Its and investment that many in this community don’t want here.
Activist and community member Byron S. Cole stated, “We have underdeveloped areas that are affected by abject poverty with no growth, no infrastructure, and that’s where any of this should be directed.”
What’s more is that the city held zoom meetings during the early stages of the pandemic to discuss the prospects of the plan with the resident, but since then the people that live here feel left out.
“I think it’s no more than fair that the community be involved in it. We don’t have landmarks anymore within the historical Treme area, said longtime resident Sue Press.