Developers got another chance Tuesday to pitch ideas for redeveloping the abandoned Six Flags amusement park in New Orleans East, but the public board that controls the property seemed unimpressed.
The Industrial Development Board, which owns the land the park sits on, had already heard both of the proposals brought up Tuesday and rejected them two years ago.
After an extended discussion of their options, board members voted to simply continuing paying for 24-hour security at the site and to advertise for an appraiser who can give them a clearer picture of the property’s value.
“We’ve sat on this property for 12 years, and we don’t know what we’re sitting on,” board President Alan Philipson said.
For now, the park remains little more than a public expense. Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration has declined to accept responsibility for the rapidly deteriorating space, and redevelopment proposals that seemed to gain traction for a time have all fallen through.
Various plans for developing the property into an upscale shopping center and boardwalk, a Nickelodeon theme park and a sports complex never came to fruition.
Developers backed out of the shopping mall deal in 2013 after another developer announced plans for an outlet mall at the Riverwalk Marketplace in the heart of the city.
The Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office pegs the Six Flags property’s value at $54.5 million, but members of the Industrial Development Board expressed doubt it is worth that much, given the site’s deterioration since Hurricane Katrina led to the park’s abandonment.
In just the past month, the site has had an increase in trespassing and vandalism, prompting 23 arrests in one recent weekend, Philipson said. The board is paying $500 a day to maintain a constant watch.
Though the board has not issued a new request for proposals, that did not stop two developers and one Carrollton resident from pitching their ideas Tuesday.
The developers, Frank Scurlock, whose family launched Space Walk Sales, and Tonya Pope, of The Paidia Co., both envision new amusement parks at the site. The board rejected both proposals in 2014, saying they lacked funding.
On Tuesday, Scurlock again offered no commitment letters from investors for his plan to lease and transform the property into a $120 million “festival theme park.”
Pope offered to buy the site, not lease it, for $2.5 million, and eventually restore the Jazzland Theme Park that predated Six Flags.
Board members said they needed to get a clearer picture of the site’s value before making a decision.
Drew Ward, a Carrollton-area activist who said he wasn’t affiliated with a development company, suggested the board sell the remaining amusement rides for the value of their parts.
After an hour of debate led to no conclusions, Tangee Wall, of the East New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Commission, said residents are tired of the inaction.
“It really is time. Twelve years, it’s just insane,” she said.
Follow Jessica Williams on Twitter, @jwilliamsNOLA.