NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City Councilmembers, City officials, and FEMA broke ground on the new $11.2 million New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) Headquarters at 5420 Franklin Avenue in the Milneburg neighborhood. This facility previously served as the Milne Boys Home which was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
“For decades, the Milne Boys Home served as a safe place for children to grow, learn, and play,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “This campus’s rebirth as the new NORDC Headquarters is a testament to our commitment to build the best recreation department in the country. As one of my administration’s committed capital projects, this $11.2 million recreation facility will bring NORDC into the 21st century and further strengthen the Milneburg community.”
Click here to video from today’s ground breaking: http://bit.ly/1hdR9Vy
View photos from the ground breaking ceremony
The Administrative Building and Gym will be fully repaired including cleaning and clearing, roof replacement, and conditioning. Interior renovations will include new ceilings, mechanical and electrical systems, toilet facilities, wall partitions and doors, millwork and casework, exterior doors, windows, and interior and exterior painting. The Gym’s basketball courts will be fully repaired. The North and South Cottages will also be restored and left as “white boxes” so they can be repurposed. The Caretaker’s Cottage, Laundry Building, and Chapel will be demolished.
Redeveloping the Milne Boys Home as the new NORDC Headquarters will enable NORDC to house its executive and managerial staff in one location for the first time. Currently, offices are scattered in three different recreation centers across New Orleans.
New Orleans Recreation Development Commission CEO Vic Richard said, “Centralizing our administrative space will benefit NORDC’s community reach and enable efficient and professional delivery of recreational services. The new NORDC is committed to becoming one of the best recreation departments in the country, with both facilities and programming that will strengthen our communities and groom future generations.”
The redeveloped facility will also support NOLA FOR LIFE. Launched in 2011 by Mayor Landrieu, the comprehensive murder reduction strategy implements enforcement, prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation initiatives to change the culture of violence in New Orleans.
“Integrating NORDC’s programming into NOLA FOR LIFE will present another opportunity to enrich and influence our city’s youth in a way that creates pathways away from violence and creates future leaders in our community,” added Richard.
The new NORDC Milne Complex will support athletic programming including basketball, baseball, softball, NORDC/ Young Leadership Council Kicks Soccer, football, flag football, track and field, volleyball, cheerleading, tennis, martial arts, and yoga and fitness. Cultural programming will include NORDC/ New Orleans Ballet Association Center for Dance, piano, band, NORDC/ Crescent City Lights Youth Theater, senior choir, senior aerobics, and Casa Samba. This facility will also host the NORDC Teen Council, mentoring programs, NORDC Movies in the Park, picnics, walking and jogging, and playground equipment.
Roy Glapion, Chairman of New Orleans Recreation Development Commission said, “The reuse of the Milne site for NORDC headquarters is extremely exciting. This location will better accommodate our needs and help us continue our mission to provide quality recreational opportunities and programming to our youth and families.”
District D City Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said, “The devastated Milne Boys Home site has been one of the most prominent remnants of Hurricane Katrina’s effects on District D. I’m looking forward to the completion of this project and the programs it will allow. This is a great move for NORDC, and will allow even better recreation opportunities for our children. Putting this property back into service for the children of our community will be a huge step towards closure for our community.”
City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “I am so happy that NORDC will have a full administrative headquarters and that the Race Street facility will once again entirely be a recreation center.”
Councilmember-at-Large Stacy Head said, “The redevelopment of the historic Milne Boys Home will be a cornerstone of the revitalization in Gentilly. I have had many constituents call my office with questions about its future, wondering why it has stood vacant and dilapidated for years. I’m very pleased with NORDC’s vision for the property and am excited that the City will return it to use for our city’s youth.”
The total cost of construction for this project is $11.2 million with funding from FEMA recovery dollars, City Bond funds, and State Capital Outlay funds through the Gentilly Development District.
Deputy Mayor for Facilities, Infrastructure, and Community Development Cedric Grant said, “The redevelopment of the Milne Boys Home as the new home of NORDC is a perfect example of the adaptive reuse of this historic property and continues its great tradition of providing enrichment to young people. This unique site offers an opportunity to provide comprehensive services for the youth of our city.”
FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office Director Mike Womack said, “We are proud to join the city of New Orleans in breaking ground on a project that will breathe new life into the historic Milne Boys Home site. As the city moves closer to a full recovery, FEMA remains committed to supporting our state and local partners in their restorative efforts.”
State Senator J.P. Morrell said, "I'm extremely excited by the redevelopment of Milne Boys Home. The multipurpose use of the site as NORDC Headquarters, a completely renovated Gymnasium and community meeting space is a great fit for this community. The Gentilly Development District was happy to be a partner in this endeavor and the legislative delegation will be working to find additional funding for the proposed Natatorium."
State Representative Jared Brossett said, “Today's groundbreaking for Milne Boys Home represents an investment in the children of New Orleans and their future. The restoration of this historical landmark will breathe life back into the Gentilly community and attract commerce."
Monty Burlingame, President of the Board of the Milne Trust said, “It's been a long haul for the Milne Boys Home since Katrina. The Milne Board would like to thank the City, particularly Mayor Landrieu, the representatives of FEMA and especially the people of the surrounding neighborhoods for their patience and drive to try to make Milne useful again for the youth of our city.”
This project was designed by Waggoner & Ball Architects of New Orleans and being built by Battco Construction and Maintenance, Inc. of Kenner. Construction will be complete in fall 2014.