NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans announced today that it was selected as one of six communities across the country to receive a $433,800 grant from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to support the advancement of equitable park access.
The Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families and New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) have been awarded this funding to support the creation of a citywide parks and recreation master plan – a strategy to build an equitable and resilient park and recreation system accessible to all New Orleanians. The planning process will engage a wide array of community-based organizations and residents to gather feedback and create action strategies to advance our city’s goals.
The citywide parks and recreation master plan fulfills the commitment made by Mayor Cantrell and the four major park agencies – New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC), Parks and Parkways, Audubon Nature Institute, and City Park – as part of the 2019 parks and recreation millage proposal that passed with 76% voter approval. These agencies will be co-leaders in the planning process along with multiple City agencies including City Planning Commission, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement, and Office of Resilience.
The Park Partners will host a virtual public meeting on July 21, 2021 from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. to discuss more about the parks master plan. Residents can register via Zoom by clicking here.
“We are grateful for the support of NRPA and their commitment to our city’s park system,” said Mayor Cantrell. “Creating a citywide parks and recreation master plan will fulfill a core promise of the 2019 parks millage proposal that voters enthusiastically supported. This master plan will help us to create an equitable and resilient park system that is accessible to all our residents. We know how critical parks and recreation have been to our residents during the pandemic, and this grant will be vital to our city’s recovery efforts.”
“NRPA strives for a future where all people have access to the benefits of quality parks and recreation. Achieving this future requires recognizing the systemic inequities that have created very different lived experiences in communities across the country — differences based on factors like racial disparities and socioeconomic gaps,” said Kristine Stratton, NRPA president and CEO. “Putting equity at the center of our work means we are committed to supporting and advancing local solutions through grant opportunities, and we are proud to work with these seven communities leading the way.”
“Audubon Nature Institute truly appreciates the NRPA’s support of New Orleans’ work to design a parks master plan and looks forward to continuing our work with the Park Partners and the City to improve parks and recreation services in our community,” says Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman. “Together, we can make New Orleans a healthier, safer, and more sustainable and resilient place to live, work, and raise a family. Thank you to our friends at the Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families and NORDC for spearheading the effort to secure these critical funds.”
“Parks and recreation are critical to urban infrastructure and public health and wellness,” said Larry Barabino, NORD CEO. “Receiving the NRPA Resilient Park Access Grant will ensure the City of New Orleans can provide long-term, equitable solutions that increase park sustainability, accessibility, and utilization. We also look forward to creating a City-wide Park Master Plan that lays out these visions.”
“As stewards of 1,300 acres of public space in the heart of New Orleans, we recognize our role and importance in our commitment to create a citywide parks and recreation master plan in partnership with the City of New Orleans,” says Cara Lambright, CEO of New Orleans City Park. “We look forward to continuing our collective efforts with other Park agencies in creating more equitable access to parks, environmental resilience, increasing community health, and prioritizing social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, with guidance from the National Recreation and Park Association for our community.”
“The Department of Parks and Parkways is excited to join with NRPA, NORDC, City Park and the Audubon Institute in the creation of a citywide parks and recreation master plan,” said Mike Karam, Parks and Parkways Director. “The residents of New Orleans voted overwhelmingly in 2019 for an equitable distribution of funding between the City’s four major park agencies. This master plan will provide a roadmap for the efficient use of our increased revenue to expand our initiatives for a more equitable, child-friendly and resilient park system. Through this grant, we will develop a master plan to leverage parks and greenspaces to meet the City’s overall equity and environmental resilience effort.”
Funding for this work is provided by The JPB Foundation.
About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.