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City of New Orleans Celebrates $8.1 Million New Orleans Fire Department Headquarters Phase II Groundbreaking

NEW ORLEANS – Mayor LaToya Cantrell today was joined by Director of Capital Projects Administration Vincent Smith, New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) Chief Roman Nelson, Deputy Infrastructure Branch Director of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Albert P. Walters III, FEMA Public Assistance Group Supervisor Ronnie Fairley Sr., Director of Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) Casey Tingle and President of the City Park Neighborhood Association Suzi Cobb to break ground on the $8.1 million Phase II of the new NOFD Headquarters facility in District A.

“Our City’s Fire Department is full of exceptionally brave men and women, working hard to keep us safe and adhering to their mission of ‘seeking opportunities to serve,’” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Today marks the beginning of the final phase and will result in a completely occupiable facility and, ultimately, a move that is much needed and a long time coming. Public safety remains my top priority, and I will always work to ensure our women and men of NOFD have every tool in the toolbox necessary to protect and serve our people. This includes making sure that their infrastructure is efficient, effective and absolutely top-notch. On behalf of the City, we will continue to acknowledge and invest in the essential work of our fire team and their commitment to public service and public safety.”

The first phase of $1.9 million work began in January 2021, which included the interior demolition and environmental remediation and installation of underground utilities and was completed in July 2022. This final phase of the project includes completing the renovation of this 20,000 square-foot former Municipal Training Academy to create a new headquarters for the NOFD and will result in a complete occupiable facility.

This new facility will function as both a consolidated administrative office for NOFD and a 24-hour operations center. The main building will contain offices for all Fire Chiefs and Directors, planning, inspection and administrative staff, in addition to a separate 24-hour emergency operations center featuring sleeping quarters, locker room, fitness facilities, a full kitchen and laundry room. The annex building will be transformed into a new multi-use training space. A new, permanent natural gas-powered automatic backup generator will ensure that this new facility never goes offline.

“This is the Capital Projects Administration’s contribution to making life better for us all,” said Smith. “This particular project has been a long time coming, with a gap between the two phases due to increasing construction costs, so I thank the residents for their patience. Now, we are once again moving forward with creating this state-of-the-art facility that will provide administrative, training and emergency operations space. It will be fully fitted out with 24/7 operational capabilities, and this is fitting for what our life-saving responders deserve.”

“Without understating the building’s historical significance or the appeal of the French Quarter, the fact is the New Orleans Fire Department outgrew 317 Decatur St. as its Headquarters decades ago,” said Chief Nelson. “The move to our new City Park location will allow us to consolidate all departmental administrative and support functions into one location. This adds an organizational efficiency and ease of public access that this department has never had.”

“For too long, this prominent building has sat vacant and open to graffiti and vandalism,” said District A Councilmember Joe Giarrusso. “It’s only fitting the former Municipal Training Academy will transform into a new hub for NOFD, with accessibility to serve so many in the city and District A residents.”

Funding sources for this project include FEMA’s Public Assistance and their Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants, as well as City bond funds and community development block grant (CDBG) funds.

“The funding for this project comes from Katrina. With the wisdom of the City, the Mayor, Capital Projects and its staff, they decided to use that funding to rebuild this facility,” said Walters III. “FEMA will continue to work with the City until we can show recovery for all the damaged facilities that the City has funding for in order to complete those projects. From the federal government’s standpoint, thank you Mayor for inviting us to this groundbreaking. We appreciate being here, and we look forward to working with you and your staff on many other projects.”

“It’s been 18 years since we started this journey, and it’s always good to come to an event like this because it shows progress,” said Fairley Sr. “It shows that we are still in recovery from the most devastating disaster to hit the United States. Thank you again for inviting us, and I look forward to coming to the ribbon cutting on this new facility when it’s done.”

“This is a step forward into the future,” said Tingle. “This is what the community needs, what the Fire Department needs and what the City needs to make the best and wisest use of these funds to really set the City and the men and women of the Fire Department up for success. We lean on them a lot, especially during disasters at a state level, but primarily the city depends on them every day. For them to have a state-of-the-art facility to be their headquarters and give them the support they need, we’re very happy to be a part of this partnership with our local and federal agencies.”

The Cantrell Administration has invested a total of $34 million in Capital Projects in District A. Below are some highlights of both completed and upcoming projects that will boost City services and improve the lives of residents of this area.

Completed Projects in District A include:

  • $12.6 million – New Orleans Museum of Art Damage Repairs
  • $1.4 million – Cuccia-Byrnes Playground
  • $176,198 – Alma Peters Playground Improvements
  • $134,483 – Delgado Playground (FEMA Repairs)

Upcoming projects in District A include:

  • $777,253 – George Washington Carver Playground Improvements (start construction in July 2023)
  • $374,936 – Gernon Brown Recreation Center (start construction in August 2023)
  • $553,083 – NOFD Communications Building Renovations (start construction in September 2023)
  • $1.4 million – Municipal Yacht Harbor Fishing Pier & Public Restrooms (start construction in September 2023)
  • $49,851 – Easton Playground – Isaac HML Repairs (start construction in October 2023)

“This building has served the community so well for so many years,” said Cobb. “It was a Junior Achievement space and police were headquartered here after Katrina. So it is heartwarming to know that now we will have the Fire Department. The whole neighborhood is thrilled that this will be a renewed building, an asset to the community and a beauty for City Park Avenue.”


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