NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - After nearly two decades of waiting, people who live in New Orleans East will see the next step in a plan to bring new life to the old Six Flags site.
“This is a day for champagne, even though we’ll take the cookies,” said Tangee Wall at the Industrial Development Board meeting Wednesday afternoon. Wall has been advocating on behalf of her neighbors to make changes at the site for years.
Back on track after a bumpy start is Bayou Phoenix, the development company taking on the project. Bayou Phoenix was selected to redevelop the site after Drew Brees’ SHIELD 1 foundation backed out.
“In selecting Bayou Phoenix, it was very apparent that their proposal was also the community’s choice,” said New Orleans Office of Economic Development director Jeffrey Schwartz. “We’ve been very excited to make sure that the community’s choice gets to this point in the development process.”
Rundown, overgrown, and shut away since Katrina, the developer now has plans for a different thrill. The city announced a building agreement between the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) and Bayou Phoenix, with the city committing $1 million toward the building, maintaining, and securing the site.
Past proposals from Bayou Phoenix have included a sports complex, retail spots, and a water park.
“Our area really is in need of so much and, of course, amusement,” said Wall. “You still want to have the outdoor theater kind of thing. You want to have entertainment and family fun.”
Bayou Phoenix now enters an 18- to 24-month timeline to produce a master plan. Stalls in the deal last November had developers worried that the project would die.
“We wanted to be sure that the public interest, the community, was protected even as we were supporting Bayou Phoenix in being wildly successful in the redevelopment of the site,” explained Schwartz.
The contractual rollercoaster has now pulled into the station for developers.
“For the first time, truly, I think our community is feeling like this is really going to happen,” exclaimed Wall.
Executive director Brenda Breaux says NORA has intentions to ink all three agreements, with the Industrial Development Board, the City of New Orleans, and Bayou Phoenix, by the end of the week.
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