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Mayor Cantrell Celebrates Completion of $15.5M Pontilly Neighborhood Stormwater Network

NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today joined other local, state and federal officials as well as neighborhood leaders in celebrating the completion of the $15.5 million Pontilly Neighborhood Stormwater Network.

“2021 is going to be the year for green infrastructure in our city, and it’s exemplified in a project that is important for the city, the Pontilly, Ponchartrain Park and surrounding neighborhoods, and for our ongoing work across New Orleans to better manage stormwater. We saw the impact of these improvements as recently as last week when we experienced what is becoming an unprecedented month of rainfall. Pervious pavement, street basins, stormwater lots, bioswales and other improvements hold and move water far more effectively now, which is something to consider as we enter what we expect to be another active hurricane season. I want to thank all of our local, state and federal partners for their support to make this a reality. Without these partnerships, none of this work would be possible,” said Mayor Cantrell.

[WATCH: Pontilly Neighborhood Stormwater Project press conference]

“This is an innovative and creative network of stormwater management solutions. These projects will not only reduce flood risk, but also improve recreational and bicycling opportunities for our residents and connect them to economic opportunity in the water sector,” said Ramsey Green, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Infrastructure.

“I want to thank Mayor Cantrell and our partners at DPW, FEMA and GOHSEP for the clear commitment and investment in the future of our city. We all know the challenges we face with managing stormwater. From infrastructure to topography, no matter how incredible our drainage system is, we must face the fact that we cannot pump ourselves out of this situation. And while we at Sewerage and Water Board are working aggressively to do our part to manage these challenges – we’ve restored our pumps, pulled cars out of canals and created a modern power plan that will stabilize our utility for generations to come – we know we can’t do it alone. Reducing flood risk is key. It takes major commitments and investments like the Pontilly Stormwater Network to ease the massive burden on our drainage system,” said Ghassan Korban, Executive Director, Sewerage and Water Board of Ne Orleans.

“The Pontilly Neighborhood Stormwater Project is a $15 million investment in the sustainability and resiliency of District D and the city of New Orleans. It brings green infrastructure strategies to both Ponchartrain Park and Gentilly Woods that reduce flood risk and improve community green space, ensuring that these historic neighborhoods continue to thrive,” said Jared C. Brossett, City Councilmember, District D.

The nearly $15.5M Hazard Mitigation Grant-funded project is already reducing flood risk and beautifying green spaces in the Pontchartrain Park and Gentilly Woods neighborhoods. The work not only affects residents, but also impacts one of this City’s recreational treasures, Joe Bartholomew Municipal Golf Course, as part of Pontchartrain Park. The Pontilly project will be combined with $3.4M in HUD-funded improvements to the Dwyer Canal as part of the Gentilly Resilience District. Altogether it will reduce the burden on our drainage system, reduce land subsidence, and improve water quality – all while beautifying the neighborhood.

Later this year, the City is poised to begin construction on more Hazard Mitigation Grant funded projects across the city that can store more than 25 million gallons of stormwater. And several Gentilly Resilience District projects will soon begin construction, following our EPA-award winning Community Adaptation Program which is well under way.

These projects will not only reduce flood risk, but also improve recreational and bicycling opportunities for our residents and connect them to economic opportunity in the water sector.

Mayor Cantrell also recognized Pontilly Stormwater Program Manager Meagan Williams for her work not only on this project, but also for being named a “CNN Champion for Change” and for being honored by WaterNow as a 2021 Impact and Emerging Leader.

This new stormwater network extends from Stephen Girard Avenue to Southern University at New Orleans and is funded through the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The comprehensive project took about two years to complete and combines a network of bioswales, pervious surfacing, stormwater lots, street basins, green alleyways and stormwater parks. It can now store up to 8.1 million gallons of stormwater and reduce flooding as much as 14 inches during a 10-year rain event.

The project marks several accomplishments, including:

  • Installation of pervious pavement in green alleyways and adjacent to SUNO: that will hold about 282,000 gallons of stormwater
  • Installation of 24 street basins: that will hold more than 510,000 gallons of stormwater
  • Improvement of about 30 stormwater lots: that will hold more than 3 million gallons of stormwater
  • Installation of two stormwater parks that will hold more than 3.3 million gallons of stormwater
  • Installation of urban bioswales that will hold more than 485,000 gallons of stormwater
  • Installation of a Large Bioswale at Joe Bartholomew Municipal Golf Course, which can now hold more than 940,000 gallons of stormwater
  • Future improvements to the Dwyer Canal will hold more than 260,000 gallons of stormwater

The Project Team included Project Manager Meagan Williams, Construction Manager Calvin Ford, and Outreach Specialist, David Jackson, who has managed the engagement with residents. Contractors included designer CDM Smith and construction contractor Fleming Construction.

The City also acknowledged the New Orleans Redevelopment Association’s Brenda M. Breaux (Executive Director), Seth Knudsen (Director of Real Estate Development & Planning) and Kyle Gilmore (Project Manager, Real Estate Development & Planning) for their partnership.

Infrastructure Progress Across New Orleans

Since May 2018, 28 projects totaling $151M, have been completed. Today, more than 60 roadwork projects are under construction, valued at nearly $600 million — 19 of which, valued at $170 million, are in City Council District D. And there is much more – both traditional gray and green infrastructure – coming down the pipeline:

  • With 27 projects in the bid-and-award phase valued at nearly $300 million
  • The HMGP portion of the Mirabeau Water project now advertised, which bring up to 10 million gallons of storage on the 25-acre site
  • More than $30 million in Gentilly Resilience District projects will be advertised in the next few months
  • And more than $84 million in Gentilly Resilience District stormwater management and recreation infrastructure projects in design are slated for construction this year

Residents are encouraged to visit roadwork.nola.gov or call the construction hotline at 504.658.ROAD (7623) for information on City projects.

Mayor Cantrell was also joined by Celu Bering, Public Assistance Program Specialist, FEMA; Stanley Aaron, State Applicant Liaison Team Lead – Hazard Mitigation, GOHSEP; Sandra Dugas, Hazard Mitigation Executive Officer, GOHSEP; Michael Karam, Director, Parks and Parkways; Meagan Williams, Stormwater Program Manager, DPW; Audrey Woods, President, Pontilly Neighborhood Association; Gretchen Bradford, President, Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association; and Rev. Aubrey Watson Jr., Pastor, Holy Cross Lutheran Church.

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