District “C” Report to Citizens (2014-2015)
District “C” has seen a surge in capital projects and economic development over the last year and the increased activity is expected to continue throughout 2015.
As we look forward to continuing growth and development in the district, we should assess the progress made during 2014.
Since I took office in May, many exciting things have happened. Currently, there are $90 million of streets and street scape projects in bid, pre-design, design, and construction phase in the district.
The district has seen infrastructure improvements, streetlight and sidewalk repairs, as well as sanitation works projects. There has been tremendous activity and progress over the past several months, but there is still much work to be done.
I look forward to working with the residents and business owners of District “C” along with other City officials, and the rest of the City to continue to bring about change and improvement in our district!
District “C” Councilmember Nadine M. Ramsey
There have been a number of capital and infrastructure projects on the Westbank. Senator Heitmeier helped secure funding through the State Capital Outlay Budget for several projects, including consolidation of Engines 33 and 40 into a centrally located Engine. This project also includes a new Fourth District police station. Early in 2014, I authored two ordinances to allow the use of $500,000 in state funds and over $160,000 from the City for these projects.
We have received funding for parks and recreation capital projects in Algiers, including improvements at Brechtel Park, Norman Playground, and Behrman Park. Plans are underway to build a new clubhouse, restrooms, and a basketball court at Behrman Park.
Federal City has seen a tremendous amount of growth over the past year. Phase I of the Federal City project was completed in 2014 and there is approximately 800,000 square feet of move-in ready space as well as build-to-suit space. We look forward to the completion of Phase II of the project, with the master developer, Vista Louisiana, LLC.
In the Summer of 2014, I worked with the Algiers Development District to rezone a portion of Federal City, allowing a $3.1 million expansion of the YMCA to include a 6,500 square foot swimming pool, and a 4,000 square foot addition to the building for exercise space. The continued development of Federal City will have a huge impact on the economic growth of Algiers.
In 2014, plans were announced to combine Fire Department Engines 24 and 8 in the Bywater into one centrally located facility. This plan is still in the preliminary phase and work will begin soon to identify and acquire a site for the new facility.
The City also began construction of the St. Claude Community Center at the Stallings Playground. The Center will include a community center with basketball courts, and multi-purpose rooms, along with major renovations to the pool and pool building.
The French Quarter
The French Quarter has recently seen a number of exciting projects take place. The City has set aside funding for renovations and improvements at Jackson Square, including repairs to benches, and the iron fence, irrigation, lighting, plumbing and electrical wiring. In the Fall of 2014, the French Market Corporation opened the French Market’s Crescent City Farmer’s Market, restoring an important tradition of sale of local seasonal produce, seafood, and prepared foods at one of our nation’s oldest markets.
I worked with the Canal Street Development Corporation to renew the lease with HRI so that they could make much needed improvements to the D.H. Holmes building, the redevelopment of which will bring higher rental income to the City. The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk opened in May of 2014 to rave reviews, and record breaking crowds and sales. In addition to the hundreds of workers employed during the construction phase, this project created more than 1,600 permanent jobs for local residents.
We are seeing an increase in the number of people living downtown, spurring construction projects totaling more than $4 billion. These construction projects include development of more than 2,500 apartments, 850 condos, and 2,000 hotel rooms.
I look forward to working with the Canal Street Development Corporation, the Downtown Development District, and other entities to further strengthen the retail and business environment in the downtown corridors.
The St. Roch community has also seen its share of development during 2014. In the Fall of 2014, this neighborhood celebrated the renovation of the renowned St. Roch Market, an 8,600 square foot facility that will feature local vendors and fresh seafood. Launchpad, the management company for the St. Roch Market, had an extensive and detailed outreach plan to ensure participation by neighborhood businesses in the market. The market will provide much needed retail for the area and help bring about positive change to the St. Roch-Marigny-Bywater neighborhoods. Additionally, anticipate that the increased commerce and foot traffic will be deterrents to crime.
Throughout the District, the City has committed funding to a number of capital projects, with much of the work taking place in Treme. The City has set aside $27 million to make major improvements to the Municipal Auditorium. The Auditorium’s repairs include a new sump pump, new roofing, an interior ventilation system, and building remediations to ensure structural safety. I am working with the Administration to identify sources for the additional funding needed to help transform the Auditorium to the jewel it once was.
In addition to the work on the Municipal Auditorium, efforts are underway to repair and renovate the Treme Recreation Center. Repairs at the center have progressed well, and the center is now fully operational. The work that has been done at the center to date includes replacement of old roofing, pool equipment maintenance, such as the humidification unit, heater, filtration and chlorination systems. There will also be an elevator installed so that everyone can have access to the 2nd floor.
Crime Prevention Updates
Crime continues to be a problem throughout the City and the district, but we are working closely with the police departments in District “C” to address citizens’ concerns in the area. The solution to the crime problem is multifaceted and must include recreational and educational opportunities for our youth. I support growing the police force and increasing community policing, but recognize that we have to look at the criminal justice system as a whole to ensure that our City is safe for all of us.
In 2014, I hosted several town hall meetings throughout the district and released my Crime Report in December 2014. I plan to implement the final two parts of my four point crime plan in 2015. I will host a crime forum in the Fall of 2015 with local and national experts in criminal justice, mental health, education, economic development and other areas to identify and discuss innovative, holistic and systematic crime reduction and prevention strategies.
Finally, under the fourth part of the plan, I will work with the City Council and Administration to implement the necessary and appropriate policies based on the findings and recommendations that come out of the crime forum.
Approved Cooperative Endeavor Agreements Supporting District “C” Fire and Police Station Infrastructure Projects (June 5, 2014)
The Council adopted ordinances, authored by Councilmember Ramsey, relative to new construction and renovation on District “C” infrastructure projects. Ordinance Calendar No. 30,152 authorizes the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana to facilitate the planning and construction of a new state of the art Algiers Fire Station. Ordinance Calendar No. 30,153 authorizes the Mayor to enter into a CEA between the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana for the purposes of facilitating the planning and construction of the Fourth District Police Station.
District “C” Councilmember Ramsey said, “Police officers and firemen are the mainline to our community’s safety and wellbeing. It’s paramount that we have adequate and sustainable facilities wherein we can continue to permanently house our first responders and their emergency operations.”
Approved Cooperative Endeavor Agreements for Renovations to City’s Playgrounds (June 5, 2014)
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,174, authored by Councilmember Ramsey. The ordinance authorizes the Mayor to enter into Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the City and State of Louisiana for the purposes of renovating and upgrading various playgrounds in Algiers (District “C”).
In District “C,” funding will provide for park renovations at Brechtel Park; field regrading and repairs and renovations to the clubhouse, restrooms, fencing and basketball court at Bodenger Playground; and enhancements to the play equipment, the center’s doors, frames and hardware at Behrman Recreation Center.
District “C” Councilmember Ramsey said, “Algiers playgrounds service hundreds of youth and families throughout the year. The upgrades help us ensure that these recreational sites remain welcoming and enhance the quality of life we’ve come to enjoy in Algiers.”
Ratified Entergy Algiers Rate Case Settlement (July 10, 2014)
The Council approved Resolution R-14-278, ratifying the settlement in the Entergy Algiers Rate Case. In effect, the settlement sets forth a phased plan to incrementally increase utility rates in Algiers over a four-year period and would serve as the first increase in the area within the last 28 years.
Working on behalf the Council, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the Alliance for Affordable Energy worked with Entergy Louisiana LLC to identify a reasonable solution that would benefit consumers without immediate and significant rate increases and legal intervention. The settlement allows the rate increase to take place incrementally over a four-year phased-in period as opposed to going into effect immediately.
District “C” Councilmember Ramsey said, “The City Council has worked very hard over the last year to negotiate a lower rate increase than requested by Entergy and to ensure that the rate increase is spread over four years. This will allow our residents to make any necessary adjustments. If the Council had not approved this settlement today, Algiers would have faced an immediate rate increase of 42%. I will continue to work with Entergy to ensure that it meets the quality and service needs of Algiers’ utility consumers and I am committed to working with Algiers residents to address their concerns and needs.”
Supported Requests for Additional State Public Safety Resources in New Orleans (August 21, 2014)
The Council passed Resolution R-14-355, supporting Mayor Landrieu’s requests to Governor Jindal for additional State public safety resources to be dedicated to New Orleans. Specific requests include a more permanent assignment of 100 Louisiana State Police (LSP) troopers to New Orleans, investment in mental health and substance abuse programs, and patrolling of the Interstate and major State highways in New Orleans by LSP.
District “C” Councilmember Ramsey said, “We must work cooperatively at the local and State levels to ensure that New Orleans is receiving the necessary support and resources from the State to facilitate public safety. This level of commitment will ensure that our City can continue to be an economic engine for the entire state of Louisiana.”
Approved Lease for St. Roch Market (September 18, 2014)
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,300, authored by Councilmember Ramsey, authorizing the Mayor to enter into a lease agreement with Bayou Secret, LLC for use of premises at the St. Roch Market located at 2831 St. Claude Avenue. The approved lease is for a 10-year period, and grants Bayou Secret the privilege of operating a full-service neighborhood restaurant, as well as a fresh foods market that utilizes multiple vendors. The market is slated to open in Spring 2015.
District “C” Councilmember Ramsey said, “The City has invested $3 million to bring the St. Roch Market back into commerce. Now Bayou Secret is positioned to develop the market into what the community envisions – a multi-vendor fresh food market and restaurant. Based on the group’s outreach plan, we are confident that Bayou Secret will continue to support community-based business as the plans for the market move forward. We have high hopes that St. Roch Market will serve as a community resource while spurring increased economic development in the area.”
Dedicated a Portion of CVB Hotel/Motel Revenue for French Quarter Improvements (November 6, 2014)
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,352, authored by Councilmember Ramsey, authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to allow the CVB to remit to the City a portion of the collection of its assessment against hotel and motel members, which were collected from the sale and use of hotel or motel rooms in Orleans Parish. The dedicated revenue will be used to enhance services and infrastructure improvements in the French Quarter.
The Council also adopted Ordinance Calendar Nos. 30,376 and30,377, amending the City’s 2014 Operating Budgets of Revenues and Expenditures, to appropriate $3 million in French Quarter Improvement Funds from Intergovernmental transfers to the Department of Police for NOLA Patrol and equipment, and to the Department of Public Works for French Quarter street light repairs, pavement assessment project and emergency sidewalk and infrastructure repairs.
District “C” Councilmember Ramsey said, “Today we passed historic legislation to create a dedicated fund from private resources to provide security and infrastructure improvements to the French Quarter. The funds will be used for the services such as Nola Patrols and sidewalk and street light repairs.”
Expanded the Old Algiers Cultural District (February 26, 2015)
The Council approved Resolution R-15-71, authored by Councilmember Ramsey, supporting the expansion of the Old Algiers Cultural District. The proposed expansion will incorporate the interior streets and extend the boundaries to better reflect the entire Old Algiers Main Street Corporation program area, to ensure that historic structures and significant cultural venues are eligible for tax credits for rehabilitation, and to provide for additional economic opportunities for creative industries within those corridors.
District “C” Councilmember Ramsey said, “Algiers is open for business and I am encouraged by the new economic activity. Newton Street has been repaved and tax credits have been made available to enhance business growth. I intend to continue my efforts to preserve and rehabilitate this historic neighborhood located in Council District “C”.