[StBernard] State Approves $125 Million in Community Recovery Projects for New Orleans

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Wed May 28 22:50:12 EDT 2008

State Approves $125 Million in Community Recovery Projects for New Orleans

Homeownership, cultural revitalization among first funded initiatives from city's plan

NEW ORLEANS, La. (May 28, 2008) - The state has approved $125 million for recovery-related rebuilding projects in the city, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin announced tonight in his annual State of the City address.

"The new administration has prioritized the recovery of New Orleans, and that is evident by their swift action on approving the use of these grant dollars," said Mayor Nagin. "These programs will help to rebuild our City and to make it strong for the next 50 years."

The City of New Orleans will use $97 million of its allotment of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars to revitalize part of the riverfront, create a theater and performing arts district and start housing programs, among other initiatives. In addition, the state is making $28 million available to the Finance Authority of New Orleans for a program to create homeownership opportunities.

"The projects the city presented the state are products of a citizen-led planning process and represent the exact kind of development we envisioned coming from this program - creating homeownership opportunities, investing in the unique culture of New Orleans and refurbishing community parks that will be beloved by citizens for years to come," said Paul Rainwater, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "With these project approvals in hand, the City of New Orleans and the State will work together on historical and environmental reviews so that construction can move forward."

The LRA allocated almost $411 million in CDBG dollars for New Orleans to implement its projects in its long-term recovery plan. Overall, the LRA allocated $700 million for affected parishes to bring their recovery plans to life. The LRA board approves a parish's recovery plan and the parish then works with LRA and Office of Community Development staff to approve and fund individual projects from its plan. The City of New Orleans was the first local government to have a plan approved by the LRA in 2007.

Approved plans include:

* New Orleans "soft seconds" mortgage program run by the Finance Authority of New Orleans -- $56 million (includes an additional $28 million in CDBG from the Road Home Small Rental Property Program First-time Homebuyer Pilot);
* Reinventing the Crescent Downriver Park -- $30 million;
* Theater and Performing Arts District -- $15 million;
* 17 Streetscapes throughout New Orleans - $14.9 million;
* Other recovery projects -- $9.1 million.

* For a map of proposed projects and funding amounts, click here <http://keelson.eatel.net/websites/la.gov/action.cfm?md=communication&task=addClick&msg_ID=5100&ID=d0j%21kkmOlvm%26&redirect=http://www.lra.louisiana.gov/pr052808NOLAProjectsMap.html> .

The state's Long Term Community Recovery Program provides funds to support implementation of local long-term recovery plans in the most heavily impacted communities in the state. In February, the LRA approved reallocating $500 million to the program, bringing the total amount of funding that will be available to the parishes to $700 million. Funds from this program will be distributed among parishes in the most heavily impacted areas of the state according to a formula that is based on estimated housing and infrastructure damages inflicted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This is the same formula which was used to distribute the original $200 million to the districts.

* For a by-parish breakdown of proposed funding, click here

<http://www.lra.louisiana.gov/assets/Dec07/APA19LTCRAllocations.pdf> .

The Action Plan reallocating the $500 million needs Legislative approval before it moves to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for final approval.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, claiming 1,464 lives, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.


More information about the StBernard mailing list