Construction begins next week on 2.6-mile Lafitte Greenway - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Construction begins next week on 2.6-mile Lafitte Greenway

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - After years of talk, planning and delays, construction begins next week on the Lafitte Greenway, a future 2.6-mile linear park that will stretch from the City Park area to the edge of the French Quarter.

"The greenway is going to connect a lot of different neighborhoods. It's going to run through Treme and Mid-City and Lafitte and Iberville," said Sophie Harris with the group Friends of Lafitte Corridor.

Wednesday night, area residents, business owners and community groups met with city leaders and developers to discuss the final plans. Officials acknowledge the project has been a long time coming, but they say much time has been spent gathering the necessary community input.

"This is really our one shot to redevelop this area," said N.O. Public Works Director Col. Mark Jernigan. "This used to be a railroad right of way, before that it was a canal, and we want to bring it back, do it right."

Plans call for sweeping landscaping improvements that include more than 500 new trees, recreation fields and lighting throughout. The centerpiece, for many, will be the 12-foot-wide bike and jogging trail from one end to the other.

"It's going to reduce traffic in Mid-City. We think a lot of people are going to be biking and running, and we're excited. We wish it would've happened a long time ago, but we're happy it's here," said Josef Wright, executive vice president of the Greater Mid-City Business Association.

Neighbors expressed some concerns Wednesday over the expected impact from construction crews. Meanwhile, a big question remains: Who will manage upkeep and maintenance?

"There's a lot of interest in what happens in the greenway once it's finished, and that's something that's under development right now, under discussion," Jernigan said.

However, those who have spent years pushing for the Lafitte Greenway believe it'll one day have a far-reaching impact.

"We think that this is going to really improve the quality of life for people that live in these neighborhoods," Harris said. "We want to make sure that this is a space that serves all the residents of New Orleans and particularly the people that live right here."

The project carries a $9.1 million price tag. Construction is expected to last about 11 months.

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