New golf course in City Park draws controversy

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "This is the redevelopment of a golf course that was damaged during Hurricane Katrina," says Bob Becker.

The former East and West Golf Courses at City Park have grown into a small forest near Harrison and Wisner.

Fencing, though, is now up with construction set to begin on the new $15 million City Park Championship Golf Course.

"We've actually been working on this project for about a decade and part of the overall master plan of the park was to reduce the golf footprint and consolidate it into the two courses from the four that we had prior to Katrina," says Becker.

For some, it's long awaited. Others believe it's a project that should never happen.

"When I saw the fence go up, my heart broke. I couldn't believe that I was being fenced out of the place that restores me," says a speaker at a public meeting.

Another speaker said, "I don't feel like making a golf course is the best way to serve the public. The city needs wilderness space and City Park is the only place that has it."

Dozens of people showed up at City Park's Board of Commissioners meeting to speak out about the project. Many of them complained about what they called a lack of public hearings in the past.

A speaker said, "The public has not been adequately informed about this decision, or given an opportunity or notice that these meetings are happening."

"Since the original adoption of our master plan, we've had five public hearings," says Becker.

Becker says some of the public hearings were well attended.

While many expressed their disapproval of the plans, some showed up to offer their support.

"I think a Championship course inside the city limits would bring tourists and revenue here," says a supporter of the project.

The state signed a contract in December for the construction of the course, and the company's already ordered supplies.

Becker says he doesn't see a change in the plans at this point.

Those who made a passionate plea for construction to stop, vow to continue their fight for change.

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