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"Things change, times change, the needs of the community change" Bob Becker, City Park CEO

We couldn't have said it better ourselves. But perhaps the change this community needs is a little more park and a little less golf course in City Park.

In August of 2005, Katrina's floodwaters shut down the golf courses in City Park that had claimed more than half of the available land in the park for generations. Yet the disaster had an unexpected silver lining: areas of the park to which the non-golfing public had been denied access since the 1950's were discovered, welcomed, and enjoyed.

Now, rather than recognize the changing desires of the community for more passive green space, less development, and more affordable recreational options, City Park management is proposing to use $46 million dollars of public and private money to build brand new and expanded "PGA-quality" golf courses and a new clubhouse.

Coalition files lawsuit to stop new golf course in City Park
Mid-City Messenger and The New Orleans Advocate

From the City Park for Everyone Coalition Press Release, 3/26/15: The City Park for Everyone Coalitions announces its’ intentions to immediately bring federal suit against City Park and FEMA. This lawsuit will be filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana, at 9:00 AM on Thursday, 3/26/15. While the Coalition has tried numerous ways to convince the leadership of City Park to halt construction of a golf course development north of Harrison Avenue, the park has charged full steam ahead with construction. Of immediate concern is the bulldozing of several acres of previously undeveloped wetlands in the Old Couturie Forest. City Park does not have the federally required permit for this development. The Coalition is asking the court to order an injunction that ceases construction and requires City Park to fully comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Louisiana Public Trust Doctrine.
For further comment, please contact: Galen Hair, Esq., City Park For Everyone Coalition; cityparkforeveryonecoalition@gmail.com

The Coalition asserts that FEMA has violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement regarding this golf course project, and that their Environmental Assessment was inadequate; that the City Park Improvement Association has violated the Louisiana Public Trust Doctrine, which is founded in our State Constitution, by proceeding with this project; and public records and open meetings violations by the City Park Improvement Association. They are asking that the court enjoin further work on this project until FEMA and the CPIA are in compliance with the law, and hope that this lawsuit will be a positive step forward towards a plan for this land that is far better for everyone and for our environment than the current approach.

The protest against a new, championship-level golf course in City Park has taken a new turn, bringing the issue into federal court.

The City Park for Everyone Coalition is bringing federal suit against New Orleans City Park and FEMA in an attempt to stop the construction of a $13 million golf course slated to occupy land between Wisner Boulevard and Marconi Drive and Harrison and Filmore Avenues.

The course, designed by architect Rees Jones, ranges from 5,100 – 7,250 yards. Filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana, the lawsuit is the latest development following a series of protests and rallies decrying the new development. It also comes days after a man protesting the course’s construction fell out of the tree he had been staying in and was taken away by ambulance, according to reports.

Coalition members contend that instead of building the course, park officials should allow nature to prevail. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, much of the land was occupied by two golf courses, but it has since become overgrown.

City Park Coalition Lawsuit

A Bait-and-Switch Maneuver from City Park

On February 12, 2015, four long years after the public meeting on March 22, 2011 in which the reduced-footprint compromise golf plan was unveiled, City Park officials were finally ready to break ground on the new course. However, unbeknownst to the public, a bait-and-switch had been pulled somewhere along the line, and a deal quietly struck with the golf course developers that allowed 5.5 acres of the Couturie Forest to be bulldozed for the new golf course. That was never part of the original plan presented to the public at the March 22, 2011 Public Meeting, nor was this change ever reflected in the updates to the City Park Land Use maps printed as part of the Master Plan 2018 revisions in 2011 and 2014. Shame on them for intentionally hiding their plans from the public in this manner! And as a result, it is disingenuous in the extreme for them to try and counter the current protests with claims that they've been open and aboveboard with their plans all along.

Refer to the "Resources" section for full maps and Master Plans

FEMA's Draft Environmental Assessment.

Despite City Park officials claim to FEMA that the CPIA had kept the public informed concerning redevelopment of the City Park Golf Course Complex, the decision to grab 5.5 acres of Couturie Forest land for conversion into golf course was never publicly announced or addressed. The first inkling of the plan to destroy this land was outlined in FEMA's May 2013 Draft Environmental Assessment of the Golf Complex, whose purpose was "to analyze potential environmental impacts of the proposed project." The Draft EA and draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) by FEMA was first made available for review to the public and other interested parties in April 2013 at the Orleans Parish Main Library, or by download from FEMA's website. The public notices apparently ran on May 22, 24 and 26, 2013 (where they ran, it doesn't say), and the comment period began May 27, 2013 and ended June 10, 2013. Not surprisingly, FEMA received no comments, so the Draft EA became the Final EA.

Since the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) process consists of an evaluation of the environmental effects of a federal undertaking, including its alternatives, four golf course alternatives were outlined in the Draft EA:
Alternative 1 - No Action: Golf Complex would not be repaired or reconstructed.
Alternative 2 – Repair Back to Original Configuration/Footprint (of 526 acres).
Alternative 3 – Repair in Same (526 acre) Footprint to Different Configuration.
Alternative 4 – Consolidate/Reconfigure in Substantially Same Footprint (Proposed Action, and the alternative that was chosen).

The word "substantially" hides a multitude of sins in this case, and was undoubtedly the terminology used by City Park officials when they presented Alternative 4 as the chosen alternative to FEMA.

FEMA Draft Environmental Assessment, May 2013

Golf Course Plans Progress Reports
From the Minutes of the Board of Commissioners of the New Orleans City Park Improvement Association


February 24, 2015; Minutes of the Board of Commissioners of the New Orleans City Park Improvement Association:

President Hess noted a group of speakers was present and wished to address the Board about the golf course construction. She asked the CEO to put the matter in context.

Becker stated that when the Master Plan was adopted in 2005, one major strategy was to try and reduce the footprint of golf to make the land available for additional uses. At that time, the South golf course was closed, and the space has become Big Lake, the Festival Grounds, and eventually, the Splash Park and Children’s Museum. After Hurricane Katrina, we revisited the Master Plan and made another effort to reduce the footprint of golf. The footprint has been reduced from four courses to two courses, a driving range, and a new club house. The area that the new course is being built on was parts of the old East and West golf courses. If the Park would have chosen to renovate the two courses, they would have opened five or six years ago, but the delay to develop a better plan has meant the area between Harrison Avenue and Zachary Taylor which was part of the old East Golf course is no longer designated for golf but will remain open for other uses. Because the Park does not receive any general tax revenue from the City or State, it is necessary to review ways to try to generate revenue and help maintain the rest of the Park. Golf has been a historic part of the Park; the first course opened in 1901. We held five public hearings since the plan was originally adopted, and at every hearing, this area has been designated as golf. Construction of the course is underway.

Chief Executive Officer Becker read the rules for receiving public comments and asked speakers to abide by those rules. The Board allowed speakers to make public statements. The following is a list of speakers:
Melissa Gray, Byron Almquist, Chris Boozer, Philip Garrett, Chris Lane, Kevin McDunn, Marilyn Eyer, Lauren Sullivan, Justin Kray, Clint Romig, III, Mike Ricci, Ashly Rose, Jerrell Hazlett, Caity Bower, Anthony Hart, Gavin Gillen, Benjamin Morris, Cate Irvin, Macqui Stavis, Sarah Rose, Keanan Cole, Adrian Bruneau, Ken Reynolds, Stephen Weller, Rebecca Rae, Molly Reid, Demetria Christo, Dawn Dedeaux, Lindsey Berger, Jean Martinolich, Ann Coviello, Steviera Blake, Kezia Kamentz, Julie Ray, Raymond Jackson, Denise Ondaro, and Kate Paxton.

Becker thanked all the speakers for their comments. Hess thanked all Commissioners for being patient and listening to all the comments, and noted that it is very important to have participation from the public. In her President’s Report, Hess reported that the ground breaking for golf was very successful and received lots of media coverage. Hess thanked all Board members who participated in the ground breaking.

January 27, 2015; Minutes of the Board of Commissioners of the New Orleans City Park Improvement Association:
The State signed a construction contract with Duininck, Inc. to construct the new golf course. Construction is expected to begin in February with a completion date of February 2017.
The Disc Golf course was moved to the area between I-610 and Harrison Ave to make room for the Splash Park.

Major Changes to City Park Golf Plan are proposed
The lack of promised funding from the Bayou District Foundation can be credited with the welcome downsizing of the project.


On Tuesday, March 22, 2011, the New Orleans City Park Improvement Association unanimously approved amendments to the City Park Master Plan to (1) reduce the acreage allocated to golf uses by modifying the golf plan, (2) modify and broaden the land use category in the land use plan pertaining to the acreage removed from golf uses pursuant to the modified golf plan, and (3) add a site for a permanent boat house in the Big Lake area and provide for other technical modifications associated therewith.

The important aspects of the proposed changes are:

1. Instead of a golf master plan which contains two 18 hole courses and a 9-hole course, the proposed amendments would develop just the two 18 hole courses. One would be the North Course which would continue to be a moderately priced course offering affordable golf for those who wish that type of golf experience. The second 18 hole course would be a high end course for those who wish a more challenging golf experience.

2. The golf club house would be rebuilt generally on the site of the former clubhouse and not off of Mirabeau. The driving range would be improved generally on its current site and not relocated across Filmore.

3. The location of the high end course would not utilize land south of Harrison Ave. but would incorporate an area south of Filmore which was originally scheduled to be developed in a second phase golf project. The area for the new 18 hole course would be reduced from 310 acres to approximately 250 acres.

Attachment:   Detailed Proposal to be presented March 22

Surprise! Bayou District Foundation is the choice

In case you haven't heard the news (wouldn't it be nice if we had some actual newspapers in this town?): according to Bob Becker, and coming as no surprise to anyone, the Bayou District Foundation has received the "highest point score" of the three bidders to develop and manage the new Phase I golf plan in City Park, and that now "negotiations" were being conducted. He did not state a date when the contract would actually be awarded. 

We can only hope that part of these negotiations involve the question of how City Park and the taxpayers will be protected when the new course ends up a financial failure, as has happened with the TPC Louisiana golf course that has to be bailed out by our tax dollars, or the Audubon Park Golf Course, which also loses hundreds of thousands of dollars a year despite being built with public funds and by an organization that receives a third of its revenues from tax dollars (see Save Audubon Park for more information).

Regarding their scoring system, it is described on page 9 of the RFP, and states that...

City Park Golf Revenue Numbers

Historically, Golf was the big earner for City Park, not surprising when you consider that four golf courses consumed over half of the park. One of the biggest mysteries surrounding the pending new golf course construction and management contract remains the money: specifically, how much will the park receive, and what happens if the glowing income projections for the new course fall short, as they have done so extremely at the Audubon Park Golf Course. We thought it appropriate to outline City Park Golf's historical income figures as a way to shed light on the numbers that any new contractor should be expected to meet or exceed.

Three proposals received for the development and management of the golf courses.

In January 2010, the City Park Improvement Association issued an RFP for the development and management of the golf courses that was due by Thursday, February 11, 2010. Proposals were received from Billy Caspar Golf, Honours Golf, and the Bayou District Foundation.

Comparing the cost of the proposals to City Park, in a nutshell
The "City Park Golf Consolidated Income Statement" from the City park website (attached here), prepared by Economic Research Associates for the original $46 million golf master plan, shows anticipated income from various scenarios, including the current 36-hole Phase I plan. Using their numbers from the 36-hole plan at year five and above of operation (to be generous), projected at approximately $1.1 million as the average net operating income, the BDF's proposed compensation of 40% of operating profits is $440,000/year, compared to a proposed $200,000/year for Honours Golf and a proposed $132,000/year plus unspecified "incentive fees" for Billy Caspar Golf.

Comparing the cost of playing 18 holes with cart on the new course for residents, in a nutshell
City Park's projected potential fees: $50-$95
Billy Caspar Golf proposed fees: $49-$78
Honours Golf proposed fees: $49-$99
Bayou District Foundation proposed fees: $50-95

City Park Golf Consolidated Income Statement

Report of the May 26, 2009 City Park Improvement Association Board Meeting

Update March 11, 2010: In an article in today's Times-Picayune about the golf courses, it becomes abundantly clear that City Park officials are continuing to plan for a $46 million, 2-phase, 3-course golf behemoth in City Park, despite their admission at the May 26, 2010 meeting, both verbally and in print, that "it is highly likely that the Park will only be able to proceed with the Phase I plan in the near future. No other public funding for golf is currently available or programmed and a Phase II will cost more than $21 million dollars".(page 12/17 of the attached document)

Although the outcome of the CPIA Board vote and the expansion of golf in City Park was never really in doubt, thanks to the outcry by concerned citizens who worked tirelessly to strip away the veil of secrecy from the CPIA planning process, the Board was forced to make a number of concessions regarding their proposed plans for golf in City Park, none of which have been mentioned in the media articles published since the meeting.

An unchastened but clearly on the defensive CPIA Board was forced to back down from their consideration of a plan to lease away half of the public park under their stewardship in a no-bid transaction to a private developer for a term of 50-90 years.

City Park Meeting Document distributed at the May, 26, 2010 meeting.

Featured Articles

The Bayou District Foundation's Proposed Land Grab
While the loss of public park land in City Park's version of the revised 2007 Master Plan is disturbing, it pales in comparison to the Bayou District Foundation's "Conceptual Master Plan" for City Park, which is downright chilling. Basically, the entirety of City Park north of I-610 would become an extension of their new housing development across the bayou. The North Course would cease to exist, its land used for the BDF's new softball and soccer complexes, the Police Stables are no more, and the Couturie Forest is shrunken and surrounded by golf courses.

How inconvenient that so many critics, lowly New Orleans residents all, have interfered with their plans to take over all of this "underutilized" public property for their private development concerns.

From their "Highlights of the Bayou District of New Orleans", they claim their plan is to:
-Redevelop approximately 1,300 acres of New Orleans City Park, the country's second-largest urban park;
-Plans include two 18-hole championship golf courses, a nine-hole executive golf course, a First Tee Learning Facility and eight baseball, softball and soccer fields;
-Golf facility will be affordable to New Orleans residents and tourists;
-The revitalized course will be the home of the PGA Tour supported First Tee of New orleans and will be capable of hosting local, regional and national golf and other sports events;
-A portion of the proceeds from the golf operations will be available to support the vocational, pre-school, after school and other programs within the new Bayou District residential community, an estimated $1,500,000 annually;
-The Fore!Kids Foundation will manage the golf operations and New Orleans City Park will manage the recreation.

City Park golf complex is in final design phase
It's been nearly a year since City Park officials said anything publicly about their post-Katrina commitment to bring a championship golf complex to the storm-ravaged site of the old East and West courses. But City Park CEO Bob Becker is adamant that the ambitious project is alive and well. Becker said last week that the design phase for the facility is heading into the home stretch. His board of commissioners expects to solicit construction bids by the fall and award a contract and break ground by year's end.

"The good thing is it's in final design," Becker said. "That's a huge step forward, and we're on track to choose a contractor by mid-September."

Exactly what the course will look like, however, is still unclear.

New Orleans City Park officials optimistic about championship golf course
By most accounts, the ongoing recovery at New Orleans' City Park from an estimated $43 million in damage caused by Hurricane Katrina has been remarkable, as beloved attractions return better than ever and flashy, new ones come on line.

The lone pothole on the park's comeback trail has been the inability of administrators to close a deal with private investors on a proposed championship golf course.

City Park golf course project is nearing 18th hole
A painstaking push to restore City Park’s storm-battered golf complex appears to be nearing an end as officials consider a scaled-down version they hope will lead to a long-term management agreement for a proposed championship course.

The revised plan — which scuttles a 9-hole course and reduces from 310 acres to 250 acres the space needed for the new, 18-hole layout — is scheduled to go before the City Park board of commissioners on March 22.

Developers coming to City Park's golf courses
Our championship-level golf course on the west bank has flopped, requiring close to $30 million in taxpayer subsidies over the last few years, but are we discouraged?

No, sir. The way we figure it, if one PGA-style course proves ruinous, the best way to make a bunch of money is to build another one, this time in City Park.

Mr. Micawber would approve of the business plan. Park commissioners must figure something will turn up, because, having received three proposals, they have given the nod to one with a budget that exceeds the available cash by $9 million.

Audubon Golf Course: Lessons for City Park?
Reprinted from and courtesy of SaveAudubonPark.org
In honor of Bob Becker's current foray into the world of constructing expensive new golf courses, this time in his role as CEO of City Park rather than VP of Planning for the Audubon Institute, a job he held until July 2001, we thought it was time to remind people ONCE AGAIN of how this one turned out. Who knows: some day, reality may prevail over hype and misinformation. >>

Legislature set to bail out struggling golf course
$9 million plan saves La. money, backers say
BATON ROUGE -- The Legislature is poised to sign off on a $9.2 million bailout of the financially struggling Tournament Players Club Louisiana golf course near Avondale on top of the $18.4 million the state has poured into the private project in the past decade.

Among the factors driving the deal is a clause in an old contract that could allow the 250-acre site to revert to the private donors of the land unless the course is maintained by professional golf tournament operators.

Proponents of the deal have pitched it as a money-saver for the state, a conclusion they reached by assuming that the current state subsidy would expand over a seven-year period at a cost of $14.6 million. But the current subsidy, which has been widely criticized, is expiring this year and no such obligation exists for that cost-saving comparison.

"Due diligence"?! Golf and money figures just never add up.
Responding to May 21 Times Picayune article
The City Park Golf Projections done by Economic Research Associates were downloadable from their website and are also attached here. Assuming the 36-hole plan that keeps the North Course open (since that is likely to be the only one fundable): at year 3, which is the first year both courses are fully open, they're projecting net operating revenues of $3,573,000, net operating expenses of $3,048,000 (including cost of goods sold), and net operating income of only $525,000.

This is basically the same revenues as the old courses pre-Katrina, higher expenses as would be expected, but not a whole lot of improvement in net income to show for it all. At year 5, there is an inexplicable increase in rounds played, which trigger an equally inexplicable but steadily increasing rise in revenues and net income.

However, even these low income figures in year 3 are based on 56,000 rounds of golf being played at City Park, 38,000 at the old North Course and 24,000 at the new championship course! In Louisiana, the average number of rounds per course in 2007 and 2008 was under 22,000/year; even at the TPC Louisiana course, reaching 26,000 rounds in 2007 and 2008 was considered a highly successful number (From a Times-Picayune article of 4-19-09, "Going for the Green").

From where and with whom are these remarkable rounds of golf going to materialize? There is no explanation attached for how these numbers were derived, and they seem absurd... yet we are supposed to believe that the City Park Board has practiced "due diligence" by accepting them?

Bayou District Foundation considers City Park ripe for the picking
An "underutilized" resource, the favorite catch phrase of developers
Bayou District Foundation believes that City Park golf was an underutilized resource before Hurricane Katrina -- however, if the course is properly supported, it could become one of the finest public golf facilities in the United States.

As with so many other aspects of life in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina totally reconfigured the picture. City Park's golf courses were largely shattered. Irrigation, piping, electrical and sanitation facilities were all destroyed by the floodwaters of Katrina. Out of state contractors hacked up many of the golf courses oak trees and the courses were left with large gouges and craters where heavy equipment had settled.

Out of this mess, the Bayou District Foundation leadership saw an opportunity. What if City Park could combine some of its disaster relief funds with private dollars provided by Bayou District Foundation and create a world class public golf facility? This would solve the financing problem that vexed earlier efforts to improve golf in the park using only private funding and would advance golf in the Park far above what could have been done exclusively with existing FEMA funds (which by statute could only be used to restore golf in the park to pre storm conditions.)

From the Bayou District Foundation website: their private plan for our public park:

Bayou District Foundation's fundamental goal is to help create a city neighborhood that thrives from excellent housing, nearby high quality schools and retail services and abundant recreational resources for youth. Since the Bayou District borders the historic New Orleans City Park golf courses, as well as the park's many other recreation and youth sports amenities, the redevelopment of the park's dormant golf facilities, in particular, has become a committed objective of the Bayou District Foundation's recreational plan.

Public housing, golf and redevelopment
What does golf have to do with the redevelopment of public housing in New Orleans? Golf-loving former HUD Director Alphonso Jackson made sure they would be connected, when his agency chose the Bayou District Foundation to spearhead the redevelopment of the St. Bernard Housing Development. Bayou Foundation joined forces with Fore Kids Foundation and the Baton Rouge Foundation to help put the project together. For profit Colombia Residential joined the team as the developer.

Bayou District Foundation is, or was, banking on revenue from the proposed PGA-style golf course to fund a host of social services it plans for the St. Bernard site. In a recent City Business Article ( May 18, 2009), it is revealed that there is no money to complete two thirds of the proposed redevelopment. One third of the redevelopment, 466 "mixed income" units will open by November, according to the
article. One-third of those units will be for former residents of the St. Bernard Housing Development, if they qualify, under a host of new rules.

On Bayou District Foundation's website, the site continues to link to a Times Picayune (Nov. 27th, 2007) article stating the Foundation is counting on revenue from the proposed PGA style golf course for City Park. However, City Park CEO Bob Becker in recent public statements has cast doubt on the use of that revenue outside of the park, if and when the golf course is built.

A brief summary of the participants and genesis of the Bayou District Foundation plan for City Park
An attempt to make sense of how we got to this point.
The Bayou District Foundation's plan is to emulate the success of East Lake at the old St Bernard Housing Project, using City Park's public golf courses in place of the private East Lake Golf Club and the public Charlie Yates Golf Club. It would cost almost as much to play at the proposed new City Park Golf Course as it would at the private East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

To make sense of how a simple $21 million renovation of the existing golf courses in City Park morphed into a plan for a private non-profit foundation to take ownership of the public land through a 90-year lease and build a $46 million golf complex instead, one must start at the beginning, with Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club.

In 1993, developer Tom Cousins purchased the derelict East Lake Golf Club adjacent to the notorious East Lake Meadows housing project in Atlanta for $4.5 million, and invested $25 million into its renovation, with Rees Jones as the course architect.

In 1995, Cousins formed the East Lake Community Foundation (ELCF, now called East Lake Foundation) to partner with the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) on the redevelopment of the adjoining housing project into the mixed-income "Villages at East Lake" with the aid of a $33.5 million HUD HOPE VI grant, a public-private partnership similar to what happened here in New Orleans with the St Thomas Housing Project redevelopment in the late 1990's. The ELCF then went on to incorporate a charter school, a YMCA, a pre-school, and a First Tee program for young golfers, held at the Rees Jones designed Charlie Yates Golf Course, a public par 58, 18-hole course opened in 1998, and built within the East Lake community next door to the private East Lake Golf Club.

Outlook for golf in New Orleans area sobering
During the past few months, I have met with many prominent people connected with the local golf industry. Not surprisingly, their business reflects the current state of our economy. To borrow a golf phrase, the bottom line is below par.

That is OK if one is actually playing the game, but not so good if one is trying to balance the books.

Some area golf facilities have reached the point of no return. The next 12 months could determine whether their doors remain open. Other facilities appear to be better positioned to weather the storm and not be pulled under by a strengthening economic riptide. Still others are venturing out into the great unknown, specifically the new Lakewood Golf Club in Algiers and the Bayou District Foundation, which is trying to win over the Board of Commissioners at City Park and begin construction on a $46 million golf complex by the end of the year.

Average Joe not part of City Park golf plan
What's not to like about the Bayou District Foundation working to create "a new mixed income community, complete with schools and recreation facilities, in the old St. Bernard housing community?"

What's not to like about the Bayou District using golf as "an organizing theme as well as an ongoing funding source for special programs designed to revitalize the distressed public housing community, " all of it aimed at "allowing low-income families of the neighborhood to work their way out of poverty?"

Nothing whatsoever.

However, when it comes to the role golf, and City Park, are being asked to play in this laudable venture, I have a problem.

Massive City Park Golf Course Best Use of Space?
Below are comments Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association member David Muth sent to his neighborhood organization regarding the golf course in City Park prior to a public meeting held March 10, 2009. A decision could be made as early as March 24, when the City Park Board of Commissioners meets at the Pavilion of the Two Sisters. If approved, construction on Phase 1 of the project could begin this year.

March 10, 2009
Thanks for the heads up about the new City Park golf proposal. I went online to read it, and compare it to the 2005 Master Plan it will supersede.

One of the joys of City Park post-Katrina has been that the vast 400+ acre golf complex between I-610 and Robert E. Lee has been available as a public greenspace. For the first time since the former swamp was drained and cleared, people have been out walking, jogging, bike-riding, flying kites, birding, and picnicking as well as fishing in the formerly inaccessible lagoons. Public land used for a public purpose, instead of for the exclusive use of the tiny minority who play golf. Last year City Park re-opened the north course, closing everything between Filmore and Robert E. Lee once again to public use. But the golf area between 1-610 and Filmore has remained open. If you haven’t been out there, give it a visit. The paved golf cart trails are perfect for strolling or bike riding. Wildlife, especially birds, are everywhere.

Golf Complex Plan Unveiled by City Park
$46 million project to be done in two phases
The City Park board of commissioners unveiled a "master plan" Tuesday that would convert hundreds of dormant acreage into a new $46 million golf complex on which construction could begin by the end of 2009.

Phase 1 would cost approximately $24.5 million and include the construction of an 18-hole championship course, clubhouse, access road to the clubhouse and parking, driving range, range clubhouse and maintenance facility, all encompassed between I-610 and Filmore Avenue and bounded east by Marconi Boulevard and west by Wisner Boulevard.

New Orleans proposal links St. Bernard and City Park
Golf fees would help finance development
In its bid to create an ambitious mixed-use development at the site of the St. Bernard public housing complex the Bayou District Foundation, a nonprofit with financial ties to restored City Park golf courses, might be accused of post-Katrina fantasizing.

Golf and public housing may seem like odd bedfellows. But the plan uses as its model Atlanta's East Lake housing and golf development that replaced a notorious Atlanta public housing complex with what by all accounts has become a thriving mixed-income neighborhood. That unique project taps the golf revenue to finance education and recreation programs for families in subsidized housing.