City recreation officials will kick off a multi-day national conference on parks and recreation Sunday (Sept. 24) at the Lafitte Greenway, where they will also mark the expansion of the Greenway's Lemann Playground. The playground set at the base of the Greenway near North Claiborne Avenue netted around $1 million in donated equipment that crews have spent months installing ahead of the national conference.
Expected to draw thousands of people to New Orleans, the National Recreation and Park Association's Annual Conference marks the largest annual gathering of park and rec professionals in the country. The conference includes a series of workshops and educational sessions next week Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
As part of the conference, the national association chose Lemann Playground as the recipient of its annual "Parks Community Build." Several pieces of equipment were donated and installed at Lemann, including bleachers, fitness materials and a children's playground.
Additionally, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission has also installed new spotlights at Lemann, and plans to shape up the playground's baseball and multi-purpose fields. That work figures into a broader upcoming facelift for the Greenway that is slated to see the completion of several capital projects, including:
- Repurposing the former brake tag station at North Lopez Street and Lafitte Avenue into an outdoor pavilion with roll-up doors;
- Building a 1,500-square foot clubhouse with public restrooms at Lemann Playground;
- Demolishing the unused Department of Public Works traffic signal and sign shop at Lafitte Avenue and North White Street, which officials are pushing to turn into a dog park;
- Demolishing the existing Sewerage and Water Board pump station at Broad and Toulouse streets and building a new pump station at Lafitte Avenue and North Dorgenois Street; and
- Reconstructing North Galvez Street from Lafitte Avenue to Bienville Street to replace a S&WB sewer force main.
City officials are still trying to drum up funds for many of those projects.
In a news release issued Friday afternoon, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office laid out the schedule activities for Sunday's celebration at Lemann, which will begin with a second line starting at the intersection of Lafitte Street and North Claiborne Avenue at 1:30 p.m. A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for Lemann's new amenities will follow the second line.