City Council discuss new approach to restore Lincoln Beach

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 4:45 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans city council members take a new approach in trying to get a long-awaited restoration project up and running at Lincoln Beach. The project appears to be about $1 million short of what’s needed to move forward.

For many African-Americans of a certain age, Lincoln Beach occupies a special place.

“This is for the elders who have died who want to walk through the gate. We want to have a safe space to walk through that gate,” said Sage Michael of New Orleans.

That gate was open back in the 50s and 60s to African Americans who couldn’t swim elsewhere along the New Orleans lakefront due to segregation. A dedicated group is frustrated that a project to restore a beach with some of the cleanest water on Lake Pontchartrain appears to have stalled.

“We really want more transparency and see how we can get this committee strengthened and working in conjunction with the City,” said Tricia Wallace of New Orleans.

Reggie Ford has worked for years cleaning up the beach, in hopes of making it more accessible.

“It is about 7 acres of land that Sage and I keep clean, we found a way to keep it, so there’s less mosquitoes out there,” said Ford.

It is not that the project hasn’t received the money. The city has put up 5 million and the feds 11 million. But a restoration proponent says there is still a shortfall.

“The estimate is $17 million so we are about $1 million short of a fully flooded project,” said Ford.

Councilmembers are frustrated by the slow pace of the Lincoln beach restoration project coming together, especially when other projects seem to be moving forward.

“You look at the convention center, Pontchartrain beach, what do they have in common, they are state assets they’re not managed by the city of New Orleans and that’s why they are moving,” said city Councilmember J.P. Morrell.

Councilmembers say they are putting the restoration project on a special agenda later this month, to try and get it moving.

“We are going to have the management show up at the table under oath and they can explain to you what are those problems,” said Morrell.

All seven council members say they are committed to seeing the long awaited restoration of Lincoln Beach move forward.

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