Thursday, March 03, 2016

Fenced out

Last week when we brought up this mess at The Fly, I was certain there wouldn't be anything anybody could do to interfere with Ron Forman and Tom Benson and their various friends in the Uptown clubs doing whatever they want with the open space along the riverfront.  I might have been wrong about that.
Adrienne Petrosini, representing the Save the Fly movement, requested Thursday (March 3) that the City Council consider creating an interim zoning district for The Fly, which would require any development on the property to earn City Planning Commission and council approval.

The council voted to receive the request and forward it to its Community Development Committee, which can consider the creation of an interim zoning district.    
The Boosters want to fence off a large space currently open to the public and build a new soccer field which, unlike the open soccer fields that already exist there, they can collect rent and concession sales from operating. Open public shared space shouldn't be fenced in for private profit like that.  It's good to see the City Council at least take this principle into consideration.

On the other hand, maybe they don't really care.
The city’s new fence, which will enclose the parking lots that extend along Calliope Street from St. Charles Avenue to South Rampart Street in the Central Business District, will force out dozens of homeless people, some of whom were camped there on Wednesday. The city plans on having it up by mid-April.

Reopening the parking lots, which have been chained off since 2012, also is designed to provide relief in a neighborhood where parking spaces are in high demand. And turning them into managed, paid parking facilities, as the city plans, also is expected to bring new revenue for the city.

Before the city closed the area to parking in 2012 to combat homeless encampments, the lots were under the state’s jurisdiction, and parking was free.

The New Orleans Building Corp. plans to ask for bids from would-be lot managers this spring. Officials said revenue estimates won’t be available until after an operator is chosen.

“Because of the limited number of on-street parking spaces available, returning this area to commerce will decrease traffic congestion and increase accessibility, which will ultimately improve commerce,” said Cedric Grant, the Building Corp.’s acting chief executive officer and the Sewerage & Water Board’s executive director.
"Returning" previously free parking "to commerce," says Grant. Good lord.  He's not wrong, though. Parking is a booming business in New Orleans these days.   Maybe the Carrollton Boosters can be persuaded to trade their current racket for this one.  It's worked out well for the Landrieus, after all.

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