|District E Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen is urging Mayor LaToya Cantrell to establish a community advisory committee to receive RFP responses on the former Six Flags site, which has the potential to be a strong economic engine to help revitalize New Orleans East and the entire City of New Orleans. |
“We are excited that action is taking place to get sustainable development on the 226 acres that were once a place that families enjoyed and provided job opportunities for residents,” Nguyen said in a statement. “While the process has not included community input and feedback, I am strongly recommending to Mayor LaToya Cantrell that she establish a Community Advisory Committee to receive the RFP Responses from Kieran West & Bayou Phoenix.”
Redevelopment of the Six Flags has been a sticking point for political, business, and community leaders, as well as residents, with the neglected site serving as a stark reminder of the lack of revitalization in New Orleans East since Hurricane Katrina. The East was one of the areas of the city hardest hit by the devastating storm in 2005. The Six Flags site is in New Orleans East at the intersection of Interstate-10 and Interstate-510 that originally opened in 2000 as the $130 million Jazzland theme park. The amusement park was acquired by Six Flags in 2002, but did not reopen after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and has remained closed since then. The Industrial Development Board took title to the property in 2009.
The two very different proposals that have emerged as top contenders have now become another point of contention. Bayou Phoenix, led by local businessman Troy Henry in partnership with Hillside Development, promises to bring jobs to the community with plans for an amusement park, restaurants, a hotel, a golf course, and residences. Drew Brees is the public face of the other proposal–an urban farming and educational center, by Kiernan West LLC.
Nguyen says she does not want to restart the process but wants to ensure that the community is “at the table.”
“Creating a community advisory committee will show true transparency and community engagement in determining the master developer for the former Six Flags site,” Councilwoman Nguyen said. “Residents should have a voice in this process, and active community involvement will ensure the sustainability of future projects on the site. When people are involved in the process, they will be confident in the outcome.”
Nguyen wants a Community Advisory Committee to host public review meetings to engage residents and make recommendations to the Review Selection Committee. It would consist of one representative from Oak Island II subdivision, Oak Island I subdivision or Village de L’est Homeowners Association; New Orleans East Matters; East New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Commission (ENONAC); East New Orleans Business Development District (ENOBDD); and two members from the faith-based community.