NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City officials, and FEMA reopened the newly renovated, $4.9 million John P. Lyons Memorial Center at 624 Louisiana Avenue in the East Riverside neighborhood. The Lyons Center has been closed since Hurricane Katrina. Officials also highlighted an $115,000 donation by Chevron for a new dance studio and $100,000 from Chevron and $25,000 from NFL Foundation for a new computer lab as part of the Super Bowl Legacy Project.
Watch video of Mayor Landrieu at the press conference
“The newly reopened Lyons Center and Pool is the perfect place to kick off NORDC 2013 Summer Programs,” Mayor Landrieu said. “As one of my administration’s committed capital projects, the Lyons Center once again stands as a safe place where our children and young adults can learn and play and where parents can watch them grow. Community Centers like the Lyons Center keep our children off the streets and focused on their future. I want to thank Chevron and the NFL Foundation for their contributions to the new Lyons Center.”
View photo gallery of Lyons Center reopening
City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “This is a highlight in the NORDC revival because it emphasizes athletics, dance, aquatics and a state-of-the-art facility!”
Councilmember-at-Large Stacy Head said, “I am delighted that children and families in this neighborhood will once again have access to a first-class recreation facility that they can enjoy and be proud of. Our children deserve nothing less than the very best, and that’s what the Lyons Center now offers them. I look forward to enjoying it with my own children this summer.”
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, “The reopening of the Lyons Center is an investment in the residents of the Irish Channel and Faubourg Delachaise. We’ve waited for this day and it’s finally here. I’m excited to see the young people and adults who will make use of this new facility and support the development of community-driven programming at the Lyons Center. Together we can foster and grow the dreams and aspirations of area residents and I remain encouraged that there’s nothing, as a city, that we can’t accomplish. New Orleans continues to be on the rebound and today’s reopening of the Lyons Center is evidence of that.”
District D Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said, “Every child in New Orleans should have an opportunity to swim. We live in a city surrounded by water, so it’s vital that all children learn to swim at an early age for recreation and for safety.”
The Lyons Center’s restoration includes a new gym floor with volleyball standards, new wood stage and theater equipment, and repaired bleacher seating. Other improvements include a new roof, ceiling tile and HVAC system; replacement of plumbing fixtures and electrical panels; and extensive cleaning of the building with new interior and exterior painting.
New Orleans Recreation Development Commission CEO Vic Richard said, “This is an exciting day for NORDC and the entire City of New Orleans. The new and improved Lyons Center is a symbol of the progress that we have made in our quest to become one of the best recreation departments in the country, with both facilities and programming that will strengthen our communities and groom future generations.”
FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office Deputy Director of Programs Andre Cadogan said, “Today’s event marks another great recovery milestone for the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission. This facility’s valuable recreational opportunities will have a lasting impact on this community for years to come. FEMA is proud of our role in coordinating more than $2.2 million in federal taxpayer dollars toward the repair of the Lyons Center and remains committed to the city of New Orleans as they move toward a full recovery.”
Deputy Mayor of Facilities, Infrastructure, and Community Development Cedric Grant said, “Reopening the Lyons Center is another example that we are building the type of city we want to become. By leveraging partnerships with Chevron and the NFL, the Lyons Center will feature a state-of-the-art dance room and computer lab. The City of New Orleans is committed to providing safe places where the young and old alike can come together and enrich themselves in sports, arts, and education.”
Funds for this project came from FEMA public assistance and City bond funds. The Lyons Center redevelopment was designed by Wayne Troyer Architects of New Orleans and renovated by Ryan Gootee General Contractors of New Orleans. The DBE contractors on the project included True Wall Enterprises, E-Co Systems, and Insulation Technologies.
NEW ORLEANS RECREATION DEVELOPMENT COMISSION
Today, all 13 City-operated swimming pools opened. The New Orleans Recreation Development Commission will facilitate summer aquatics programs throughout the city that will focus on water skills and education.
In December of 2010, Mayor Landrieu announced that the City entered into an agreement with the American Red Cross Southeast Louisiana Chapter to fund a year-round swimming lesson and lifeguard training program, under the direction of NORDC.
The City will operate 13 state-of-the-art pools this summer, the most the since before Hurricane Katrina.
Today is also the first day for NORDC kiddie camps.
This year NORDC will offer 35 youth (ages 4-12) camps which will serve at least 3,665 children across the city through partnerships with schools, non-profits and faith-based organizations. This is 6 more camps than were in operation in 2011. There will be 7 teen camps (ages 13-17) which will serve 1000 teens across the city. In partnership with JOB1, teen camps will offer local teenagers career exploration seminars to allow for exposure to a variety of job fields. Kiddie Camp registration is still open for many camps.