Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Inside "The Trapezoid"

The proposed sites of the UMC and VAMC hospitals (LSU Footprint and VA Footprint, respectively) both fall within an area of New Orleans that I've called The Footprint.  

Those who've been following the blog know that The Footprint falls within a much larger footprint - the 1,500-acre site of BioDistrict New Orleans.

The Footprint also falls within a giant, roughly trapezoidal shape that HANO and HRI are calling the Iberville-Treme (I don't think it will stick - the areas involved are too disparate).  Today, HANO/HRI received a $30.5 million grant from the federal government (HUD) for a variety of activities within that trapezoid, including the demolition of about 2/3 of the existing buildings in the Iberville Projects campus.

Even though the plan calls for renovations of some major historic buildings in the area - such as the Mondy and Augustine schools, I'm concerned that the federal government, as it did with LSU/VA, continues to fund grandiose projects (with dollars that the federal government doesn't have) that create additional waves of uncertainty that ripple out through an already weary community that is just trying to figure out which giant new footprint it happens to fall within on any given day.

At the very least, the project features less of an emphasis on full-scale, old-style urban renewal.  But it deserves full attention, as some neighborhood groups, like one in historic Treme, did not even know a few weeks ago about the specific, dense, infill developments proposed for within its boundaries.

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