City Park is a Pleasant Surprise

News with a Twist: News with a View Opinion Columns

New Orleans City park has raised and has spent nearly $80 million on park improvements since Katrina.  A combination of insurance proceeds, public and private donations, federal grant money, and city bond sales have helped transform the park back to it's glory days of over a half century ago.

Storyland and the amusement park has seen major upgrades and now are once again family traditions.  Parents and their kids, from all walks of life, are once again enjoying the park's rides and attractions.

The 1300 acre park has not one, but two stadiums that have recently undergone major overhauls.  Millions of dollars were dumped into both Tad Gormley and Pan American.  They have been hosting numerous events again like football, soccer, and track and field meets. 

The lush Botanical Gardens, a 13 acre site of temperate, tropical, and semi-tropical plants, is now looking better than ever - and just in time for spring.

The old South course, by Christian Brothers school and the New Orleans Museum of Art - one of the South's finest museums - has been transformed into the "Big Lake" site.  The $2 million project includes a nearly mile long jogging path, a boat house complete with paddle boats, and lots of open green space.  Right next door to "Big Lake" is a $650,000 dog park appropriately named "City Bark".  Officials were expecting 500 members at "City Bark" the first year.  They got over 700 the first month, and have now seen membership to the dog park exceed 3,000 after the first year!

And just yesterday City Park officials, with the Mayor of the city in attendance, cut the ribbon at the brand new, state of the art, tennis facility.  It's at the old Marconi Meadows - or for you real old timers, the former site of the original City Park golf driving range, where I and many of you hit our first golf ball.

And speaking of golf, a nearly $25 million world class facility is in the works.  18 holes of Reese Jones designed championship golf, a new golf club house, and a major overhaul to the double decker driving range.  It could be the future sight of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, our annual PGA stop, and one of the oldest on tour.

One of the wonderful silver linings of Katrina is an updated, modernized City Park.  One of the largest and most visited urban parks in America. If you haven't been to City Park lately, you're in for a very pleasant surprise.

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