We thank the Bureau of Governmental Research for its endorsement of the May 4 proposal in New Orleans to reallocate funds to support City Park, Parks and Parkways, Audubon Commission and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission. BGR recognizes the value offered by this proposition, the timeliness of the financial restructuring and the long-term commitment by these agencies to a comprehensive planning process that includes accountability and transparency across all park partners and sharing of their respective resources. Its endorsement will help inform our voters of the importance and urgency of this election.
Some of the opponents of this measure are pitting the public good against their perception of the perfect. They are allowing their emotions to get in the way of a well-conceived structure for the future of parks and recreation. They caution that we can wait until a better solution is crafted, presumably by them.
There is no time to waste — especially for City Park — which has received no dedicated funding from the city in its 169-year history.
As BGR points out in its endorsement, this measure will help stabilize City Park’s budget and enhance park amenities. What City Park has achieved since Hurricane Katrina is nothing short of phenomenal. During the coming months, it will become the focal point of the city’s cultural life with the opening of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, the large Scout Island Scream Park event and the 33rd annual community event, Celebration in the Oaks. Over the past two weekends, the park hosted a 72-year-old fishing tournament, high school track competitions, rugby and soccer matches, a botanical garden show and a score of weddings and family reunion picnics — events large and small and for all ages and walks of life. It is beyond time for the city to support this national treasure.
But City Park is only one of the partners that will benefit from this proposition. Parks and Parkways, Audubon and NORDC have equally impressive stories about their roles in making New Orleans one of the most beautiful, active, inclusive and culturally significant cities in the world.
There has never been a more time-sensitive issue. Vote for this proposition on May 4. Early voting is April 20-27.
president, City Park Board of Commissioners