NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City and State officials, and FEMA broke ground on the new $19 million Andrew P. Sanchez Community Center and new $4.1 million NOFD Engine 22 and 39 Fire Station which are both located at the intersection of North Claiborne Avenue and Caffin Street in the Lower Ninth Ward. These new facilities replace the previous community center and fire station that were both destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. Officials also announced the beginning of construction on $44.9 million in neighborhood street repairs in the Lower Ninth Ward as part of the FEMA Recovery Roads Program.
“Today, we celebrate renewal and reinvestment in the historic Lower Ninth Ward community,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “Both the new Sanchez Center and new NOFD Engine 22 and 39 Fire Station represent two of my administration’s committed projects. Both of these new buildings will be symbols of this community’s rebirth following the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina. These projects are important steps forward in our committed effort to build the city we want to become. Soon, the Sanchez Center will once again provide our young people a safe place to grow, learn, and play and will also offer enrichment and important community services to residents of all ages. And the new fire station will provide our fire fighters with the resources they need to better protect the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward with a state-of-the-art facility.”
District E City Councilmember James A. Gray II said, “Historically, the Andrew Pete Sanchez Center served as an anchor for the community, and provided a one-stop shop offering a variety of services to the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward -- seniors activities, healthcare, and daycare for preschoolers. This new center will be all that and more, providing a state-of-the-art building with state-of-the-art amenities. We are especially excited about the new pool. It will not only provide daytime supervised recreational activity for children, an invaluable service during the summer months, it gives everyone who uses the center another path to healthy living. I believe Andrew Pete Sanchez would be proud. I’ve talked with neighbors in the Lower Nine and they say a state-of-the-art fire station in their midst guarantees a fast response in case of fire or other emergency situations, and that protects their families and homes and helps them sleep a little better at night. We’re hoping that added fire protection will give insurers peace of mind as well, and we hope that will ultimately help policy holders in this area.”
City Councilmember-at-Large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “These groundbreakings are monumental because we are returning two of the most needed landmarks of the Lower Ninth Ward, which will send a signal that our treasured Lower Ninth Ward is open for business and residents!”
Andrew P. Sanchez Community Center
The new $19 million Andrew P. Sanchez Community Center located at 1616 Caffin Street will be a two-story, 65,000 square foot community center for the Lower Ninth Ward. It replaces a 50,000 square foot community center which was demolished after Hurricane Katrina. The difference in square footage is attributed to the addition of a 25 meter indoor swimming pool, which was not part of the original facility. Amenities at the new Sanchez Center will include: two-story entrance lobby with full height glazing, regulation size high school indoor basketball court with retractable bleachers and performance stage, commercial kitchen and concessions, 700 square foot exercise room, 1,600 square foot dance room, 850 square foot game room, 4,000 square foot senior center, 6,000 square foot health clinic, multi-purpose classrooms, computer lab, reading room, music room and arts and crafts classroom. Additional design features will include: clearstory day-lighting in public corridor and gym, energy efficient, hurricane-rated windows and door systems, public grass lawn for outdoor activity landscaped with trees and site lighting, off street parking for over 80 visitors, passenger drop-off area at main entrance, passenger and service elevators, and bike racks, sidewalks, and cross walks. Funding for this project comes from FEMA public assistance, Disaster Community Development Block Grant funding, Insurance, and City Bond funds. The new Sanchez Center was designed by Perez, APC of New Orleans and will be constructed by Gibbs Construction of New Orleans. This project will be complete in summer 2014.
Vic Richard, CEO of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission said, “The new and improved Sanchez Community Center will be a great addition to our city and this community. This brand new facility will bring us closer to attaining our goal of becoming the premier recreation department in the country.”
NOFD Engine 22 and 39 Fire Station
The new $4.1 million fire station located at 5600 North Claiborne Avenue will be a two company, three bay facility housing three fire trucks and five firefighters per shift with a maximum occupancy of 11 firefighters. It is designed in response to recent hurricanes which proved that the new station should be built to be able to sustain future storm events and maintain operation during and immediately following a storm. Design features of the new fire station include second floor living spaces high above FEMA’s mandated flood elevation requirements and a 100kW generator that can run essential electrical operations for 3 days with direct connection to an onsite fuel tank. This 9,053 square foot fire station will combine Engine 22 and 39 into one, improved facility. Through combining the old stations into one new station, improved amenities for the firefighters were incorporated to include individual dorm rooms, a fitness room, and larger communal spaces. In addition, public accessibility amenities include an elevator and first floor ADA-compliant restroom facilities. The fire station will also include the planting of new trees along North Claiborne Avenue and Caffin Street, new fencing, green space, and trees along Lamanche Street. Funding for this project comes from FEMA public assistance, Disaster Community Development Block Grant funding, and City Bond funds. The new NOFD Engine 22 and 39 Fire Station was designed by Trapolin-Peer Architects of New Orleans will be constructed by Kemper Construction Company of New Orleans. The new fire station will be complete in spring 2014.
Chief Timothy McConnell, Assistant Superintendent of the New Orleans Fire Department said, “I am pleased to see the start of construction of the new, state-of-the-art fire station in the Lower Ninth Ward. This fire station will not only provide firefighters with a new workplace, but through its innovative design, this station will provide the citizens of the Ninth Ward with a modern facility that is both sustainable and will be able to remain in service throughout almost any type of disaster. The citizens of this community can rest assured that they will be able to count on their firefighters being there when they need them most.”
Andre Cadogan, Deputy Director of Programs for FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office said, “Today's groundbreaking represents another significant milestone for the city of New Orleans. These projects will provide critical infrastructure improvements to the Lower Ninth Ward community and contribute to the revitalization of the neighborhood. As the city moves closer to full recovery, FEMA remains steadfast in aiding local recovery endeavors through the coordination of federal taxpayers' dollars."
Pat Forbes, Executive Director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development said, “The City of New Orleans is making a substantial investment of disaster recovery Community Development Block Grant funds at the Sanchez Community Center, and we know that the pool and all the other community services that will be available here are vital to rebuilding a community and a neighborhood. We hope the Community Center will bring the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward even closer together and continue to enhance their recovery.”
Lower Ninth Ward Recovery Roads Project
The City of New Orleans and FEMA also announced $44.9 million in neighborhood street repairs as part of the Lower Ninth Ward Recovery Roads Program that will begin this spring and be complete in fall 2013. The $239.7 million, FEMA-funded Recovery Roads Program is a comprehensive recovery strategy to repair Hurricane Katrina-related damages on and beneath City-managed neighborhood streets throughout New Orleans. Types of planned street improvements include full replacement of pavement, resurfacing of the uppermost layer of street pavement and point repairs of smaller areas of damaged pavement. Types of repairs deemed eligible for improvement include utilities, sidewalks, ADA-compliant ramps, driveway aprons, and curbs. Construction will be complete this fall.
Hurricane Katrina’s damage to this infrastructure network was devastating and it has taken several years to understand the extent of the repairs needed, including multiple damage assessments in each of New Orleans’ 72 neighborhoods. In the summer of 2012, the Department of Public Works began work on these long-awaited repairs.
To learn more about which neighborhood roads are eligible under the Recovery Roads Program, residents are encouraged to visit recoveryroads.nola.gov. This website serves as a mechanism to keep the citizens of New Orleans informed of all construction work and progress under this program, with a goal of keeping the impact of this work on citizen’s daily lives to a minimum.
Lower Ninth Ward Streetscape Project
Officials also took the opportunity to highlight the construction of Phase 1 of the Lower Ninth Ward Streetscape project which was completed this winter. This beautification project cover blocks along North Claiborne Avenue from Andry Street to Lamanche Street. Enhancements include sidewalk and ADA-compliant curb ramps, landscaping, lighting, public art space, and utility modifications and improvements. Phase II will extend the walking path on North Claiborne Avenue north towards the Katrina memorial at Tennessee Street. Construction on Phase II will begin this spring. In total, this project will be $1.9 million with funds coming from Community Development Block Grant funds.
Cedric Grant, Deputy Mayor of Facilities, Infrastructure, and Community Development said, “The Lower Ninth Ward’s rebirth is happening right before our eyes. Soon, this community will have a new community center and fire station providing essential services and a safer environment for the young and old alike. In addition, the streetscape enhancements along North Claiborne Avenue will tie these new facilities together and further create a renewed sense of community for the residents of this historic neighborhood. Lastly, the $42 million in roadwork that is part of the FEMA Recovery Roads program will help repair Hurricane Katrina-related damage to this community’s infrastructure. This community is coming back better than before.”
Continued Commitment to Lower Ninth Ward
In addition to these catalytic projects in the Lower Ninth Ward, Mayor Landrieu has worked with the Louisiana Recovery School District to ensure the rebuilding of the $37.5 million Alfred Lawless High School which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Through the Mayor’s targeted, place-based development strategy, the Lower Ninth Ward’s recovery is benefitting from initiatives like the $52 million “soft second” mortgage homebuyer assistance program and Lot Next Door Program reforms aimed at getting over grown and vacant property back into commerce. Last fall, the City reopened the new $2.1 million Oliver Bush Playground and teamed with the New Orleans Hornets and Salvation Army to provide over $470,000 in improvements to Sam Bonart Playground. Also last fall, the City collaborated with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, Federal Highway Administration, and New Orleans Regional Planning Commission on $2.4 million in Lower Ninth Ward road repairs completed under the Path to Progress program.
Rendering of Sanchez Center
Rendering of NOFD Engine 22 and 39 Fire Station