NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and City officials broke ground on the redevelopment of the 38,000 square foot John P. Lyons Memorial Center at 624 Louisiana Avenue in the East Riverside neighborhood. This $4.98 million project will restore the existing community center to bring it back to a pre-Katrina state with estimated completion in spring 2013. Officials also highlighted a $115,000 donation by Chevron for a new dance education space and $125,000 from the NFL for a new computer room.
“Community centers are critical to keeping our children off the streets and focused on their future,” Mayor Landrieu said. “As one of my administration’s 100 committed capital projects, the redevelopment of this important facility has been a top priority. The Lyons Center will once again serve as a place where our city’s youth can seek enrichment and where parents can watch them grow.”
District B Councilmember Diana E. Bajoie said, “The multi-million dollar renovation of the Lyons Center will provide this neighborhood with a state-of-the-art recreational facility. A center like this one can become a social gathering place for residents, offering a safe haven for young people and others to participate in sports and other positive programming. ”
Councilmember-at-Large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “Lyons Center, since it was originally built, has been one of the main hubs of NORDC activities. It is very exciting that we’re going to return it to the condition it used to always be!”
This center’s restoration will include a new gym floor with volleyball standards, new wood stage and theater equipment, repaired bleacher seating, new dance floor and mirrors in the large multi-purpose room, and a new computer room. Other improvements will include a new roof, ceiling tile and HVAC system; replacement of plumbing fixtures and electrical panels; and extensive cleaning of the building with new interior and exterior painting.
New Orleans Recreation Development Commission CEO Vic Richard said, “The Lyons Center will soon be another symbol of the ongoing renaissance of NORDC and the City of New Orleans as a whole. For years the Lyons Center served as a worthwhile, well-used and very important public space here in our City. I am excited that we are going to return this urban treasure to its prior glory. The restoration of this center will provide a greater number of opportunities for all of our residents and we are extremely proud of that.”
Deputy Mayor of Facilities, Infrastructure, and Community Development Cedric Grant said, “Community centers play an instrumental role in community development by providing safe places where the young and old alike can come together and enrich themselves in sports, arts, and education. Breaking ground on the redevelopment of the Lyons Center will revitalize this neighborhood and enhance the lives of those that take advantage of all it will have to offer.”
FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office Deputy Director of Programs Andre Cadogan said, “The Lyons Center has a long history of serving New Orleans’ residents. Through federal, state and local support, once restored, the Center will add to the city’s growing list of post-Katrina facilities positively impacting the lives of New Orleans’ residents.”
Funds for this project come from FEMA public assistance and City bond funds. The Lyons Center redevelopment was designed by Wayne Troyer Architects of New Orleans and will be renovated by Ryan Gootee General Contractors of New Orleans.