WHAT IS A MASTER PLAN?
A master plan is long-range development plan that provides an inclusive framework for orderly and consistent planning; acquisition; capital improvements; and administration of Park resources and facilities. In essence, the purpose of a master plan is to develop a comprehensive vision for the Park in the context of its location, natural resources, desires of the community, in a forward-thinking context, serving not just current park users but the next generation.
WHAT DOES CITY PARK CONSERVANCY’S MASTER PLAN ENTAIL?
The Master Plan will preserve open spaces, protect natural resources, protect historic and archeological resources, and provide opportunity for community interaction, innovation, economic impact, health and wellness, education, art, and cultural expression. The Plan will be informed by public opinion and will address repairs and improvements to the beloved Park as well as a long-term blueprint for Park operations.
The process will include surveying and inventorying the Park’s assets; gathering feedback from residents and Park users on their aspirations and priorities for the Park; examining the Park’s revenue streams to ensure financial stability for perpetuity and discerning environmental and ecological needs for the Park. The Plan will be grounded not only in environmental resiliency, but also financial resiliency.
The resulting plan will have many components, including but not limited to:
CAN PARKGOERS EXPECT TO SEE PHYSICAL CHANGES IN THE PARK?
The plan will likely lead to noticeable physical changes, such as renovations to historic structures or improvements in signage. All changes will be developed and designed by experts, informed by diverse voices in our community, and approved by the Park’s governing structures.
HOW WILL IT AFFECT MY DAILY VISIT TO THE PARK?
We will be in the planning, review and approval phase for at least the next 18 months. However, when project work begins, we will coordinate work so that it is done in a way to minimize disruption to our users. Please sign up to receive our monthly newsletter here to stay informed.
HOW CAN CITIZENS ENGAGE IN THE PROCESS?
Extensive public and stakeholder input is planned over the coming months to offer the community an active voice in the planning process. Planned public outreach platforms include community forums; public meetings; online surveys and questionnaires. We will also seek input directly from stakeholder groups. During this time, required scientific, historical, ecological, and user analysis and studies will be undertaken as well. We anticipate public engagement to begin in Fall.
WHEN WILL THE MASTER PLAN BE COMPLETED?
The master planning process that will steward New Orleans City Park throughout the next century is estimated to take 18 months to complete. It will include a great deal of research and ground truthing from experts and input from the public. Once the master plan is completed, individual projects will begin, each with its own schedule.
In its more than 170 years, New Orleans City Park has only had two major renovations: improvements during the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s and after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
There are tens of millions of dollars worth of repairs and deferred maintenance in the Park today – from the WPA-era bridges that need fortification, to the waterway network where the Park is battling invasive species in lagoons that need to be dredged. The Park is also overdue for repairs to sidewalks, roads and signage, lighting and renovations to sports fields and stadiums.
On the improvements side, the Park could benefit from better accessibility for people of all abilities; more efficient use of the land; providing for the long-term ecological conservation for the Park’s fauna and flora, including an inventory and succession plan for its live oaks; enhanced greenspaces and trails; and addressing the Park’s cultural resources, identity, programming, and financial resources.
WHAT ROLE DOES MICHAEL VAN VALKENBURGH ASSOCIATES, INC. (MVVA) PLAY IN THE MASTER PLAN?
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. (MVVA) is a landscape architecture firm that specializes in creating and rejuvenating landscapes. Since 1989, MVVA has planned and designed public parks of all sizes.
MVVA will lead the master planning process, listening to the aspirations of Park users and coordinating with experts and subcontractors, including ecologists, engineers, cost estimators, park operations experts and others to produce a cohesive, sustainable vision for the Park.
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES?
A successful, inclusive master planning process with beautiful, sustainable results will serve to inspire other audacious, forward-thinking action in the Greater New Orleans region and outside of New Orleans. It will strengthen communities through developing public spaces that encourage interaction with one another, and that deepen the environmental resiliency of our area. In line with the importance of our city, we will create a world-class, memorable space in line with the most significant, recognizable parks in the world.
WHO IS FUNDING THE MASTER PLAN?
The Plan and resulting projects will be funded by a variety of financial resources including earned income, government grants, and philanthropy. Click here to learn more about supporting City Park.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Community members are encouraged to volunteer, contribute, and share input through our public engagement process.