City Park digs into reserve funds as it loses majority of its revenue during pandemic

Updated: May. 5, 2020 at 4:42 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The closures due to the virus outbreak have left City Park facing financial hurdles.

It's also one of the most scenic places people can get some fresh air these days.

"Being out there it's so pretty, the weather has been lovely lately, so it's really nice. It's convenient, it's down the street, but it has been super packed. So, finding a nice quiet spot has been actually challenging," Stefannie Garcia said.

However, without events at the park, CEO Bob Becker says they’ve lost almost 90 percent of their revenue since mid-March and $1.1 million in April alone.

"When you're closed, obviously you can't make any of that revenue," Becker said.

Becker says they're relying on reserve funds built up since Hurricane Katrina, which are funds they count on to back them up during hurricane season.

"The fact that we're going through our reserves now in order to keep the park up in the absence of our revenue means we have less. Less money to respond to that and it's difficult to say how that actually plays itself out in the park, but it's certainly not a good thing," Becker said.

In the meantime, they've cut part-time employees and scaled back other salaries 15 to 20 percent.

"In order to preserve as much cash as possible, our employees have taken a salary cut, and furloughed people, we've stopped contributing to the pension plan," Becker said.

While Becker's glad people use the park as a source of relief, he wants them to practice social distancing.

"It really is crazy. I mean, it's awesome but I mean, there's lines to go inside the park at certain times of the day on Saturday and Sunday, which blows my mind," Garcia said.

Now, the park waits to see when the city will lift the stay-at-home order so they can get back to business.

"We expect a slow recovery, and we expect there will be restrictions even on the things that are allowed to be open," Becker said.

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