The man behind a controversial proposed soccer complex at “The Fly” in Audubon Park said the project will not move forward, according to a report.
John Payne, an executive at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino who not only designed the project, but also raised money for it, told WWL-TV Monday that the project is dead. He plans to return more than $4 million in donations to supporters, who include Tom Benson and Drew Brees.
Payne told WWL-TV that the project was “just too divisive an issue.”
“Since the beginning of this project, I have respected the opposition’s opinions on how a piece of land should be used, but I will never understand the venomous nature of some comments about the people involved with the building of a sports complex,” Payne told the station.
“No one wins when a 100-percent privately funded sports complex for children is not built,” he said.
Meanwhile, a group of citizens called SaveTheFly NOLA, who protested the lack of public input for the project, celebrated the news.
“This was a victory for New Orleans,” said Christopher Lane, who leads the group. “The citizens got together and stood up and fought the powers that be, and this is a high-tide mark; this is a change.”