City Council sides with Mid-City residents in parking lot debate

Proposed site of parking lot
Proposed site of parking lot

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A group of Mid-City residents are praising the New Orleans City Council for not allowing a parking lot to be built in their neighborhood. But while they're celebrating, they know, their fight might not be over.

For months, residents who live on and near Cleveland Avenue in Mid-City spent their free time gathering signatures for petitions and passing out information. Gayle Gagliano says, "We feel like we did a whole lot of behind the scenes work."

Their goal was to show the city council how many people were against a proposed Volunteers of America parking lot.

The lot was to be built in a space owned by the VOA and located behind their office on Canal. Homeowners thought the parking lot would bring additional congestion to the neighborhood, increase flooding and be an eyesore. Resident Charlie Dawson explains, "We have a number of these situations where there are businesses on Canal Street and parking lots behind and this was just going to be one more."

After attending community meetings held by Volunteers of America, and dealing with the city's planning commission, the residents took their fight to the city council. "We were sitting in the audience and counting off the numbers and hoping it would go our way," said Dawson.

Council members voted unanimously against the idea.

In a statement, Volunteers of America says it felt it addressed all of neighbors' concerns and was disappointed with the outcome. Now, the non-profit is considering other options for the property.

And that's what worries these homeowners. They'd like to see something that they think would better fit with the neighborhood. Danny Troyano explains, "It could be a beautiful house, we'd much prefer that."

Charlie Dawson adds, "I would hope they would consider just putting the property back in commerce."

If that doesn't happen, they say, they might have another fight on their hands, to keep their neighborhood they way they like it.

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.