NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City officials, and FEMA broke ground on the $6.1 million Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool at 4300 St. Claude Avenue in the Bywater neighborhood. This new 17,000 square foot facility will replace the previous 13,000 square foot community center that was abandoned after Hurricane Katrina.
View pictures from the ground breaking here
“Originally built in 1948, the Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool provided the Bywater, St. Claude and Seventh Ward communities with a variety of recreational and educational opportunities for decades until it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “Today, we celebrate the rebirth of this important community anchor. As one of my administration’s 100 committed capital projects, the redevelopment of this important facility has been a top priority. The Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool will once again serve as a place where our city’s youth can seek enrichment and where parents can watch them grow and play.”
Watch video from the ground breaking press conference
District C City Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer said, “Today is a proud day for all of us who have fought to reopen the Stallings Center. I am thrilled that construction of the center is underway. It is essential that residents of all ages are once again able to participate in the center’s activities as they did in the past. Once completed, the new Stallings St. Claude Center will be an invaluable resource for this community for years to come.”
City Councilmember-at-Large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “This is a most important groundbreaking as it is the site of one of the original NORD playgrounds and the real beginning of the NORD program!”
Amenities at the new Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool will include a new community center featuring multi-purpose rooms for dance, music, and activities, renovated pool and pool building, recreation field, basketball court, parking area and driveways, bike racks, and new trees.
The Stallings St. Claude Center is named for Olive A. Stallings, known as the “mother of playgrounds in New Orleans.” In 1906, she established the first “play center” in New Orleans, the Poydras Playground, at her own expense. When the New Orleans Playgrounds Commission was established in 1911, she served as its first president, a post she held continuously until her death in 1940. At her death, she left one-fourth of her estate to the playgrounds system which would soon become the New Orleans Recreation Department.
Vic Richard, CEO of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission said, “This is an exciting day for NORDC, this community and the entire city of New Orleans. The new Stallings St. Claude Center will be a great addition to a growing number of state of the art facilities. We continue to make remarkable progress and positive steps towards becoming the best recreation department in the country.”
Andre Cadogan, Deputy Director of Programs for FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office said, “Today’s groundbreaking represents another significant milestone for the city of New Orleans. Once restored, the Stallings St. Claude Community Center and Pool will add to city’s growing list of post-Katrina facilities that positively impact the lives of its residents. As the city moves closer to full recovery, FEMA remains committed to aiding its state and local partners through the coordination of federal taxpayers’ dollars.”
Cedric Grant, Deputy Mayor of Facilities, Infrastructure, and Community Development said, “The Stalling St. Claude Center and Pool will soon serve once again as a safe place where the young and old alike can come together and enrich themselves in sports, arts, and education. Breaking ground on the redevelopment of this center and pool will continue the revitalization of this neighborhood and enhance the lives of those that take advantage of all it will have to offer.”
Funding for this $6.1 million project comes from FEMA public assistance, Insurance, and City Bond funds. The new Stalling St. Claude Center and Pool was designed by Lee Ledbetter & Associates of New Orleans and will be constructed by Construction Master, Inc. of New Orleans. This project will be complete in spring 2014.
A rendering of the Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool is attached.