Planning Process Unclear - Times-Picayune

According to Coleman Warner of the Times-Picayune, there seems to be a lot of planning and discussing on how to rebuild New Orleans but public uncertainty still looms as to what and when plans get implemented. Many residents feel that too much money is being spent on planning and consulting as housing and basic services remain inadequate. How will public input, funding sources, and political strategery determine the rebuilding of New Orleans?


Planning Process Unclear
By Coleman Warner
Staff writer
August 30, 2006

When a group of a few dozen residents gathered Saturday at the Gert Town Community Center, they sought two things: federal rebuilding money and a voice in how it will be spent.

Meeting with a professional planner hired by the City Council, they finalized a plan calling for street and drainage repairs, removal of abandoned houses, creation of a building-trades school, landscaping along Earhart Boulevard.

Several meetings after the start of their own planning effort, the residents are pleased to be participating. But they remain unsure of how much of their vision will ever make it from paper to reality.

That’s because their ideas will be fed through a serpentine maze of public and private decision makers, all controlling a substantial piece of a so-called “unified” planning process — but none with ultimate authority to make the vital but politically volatile decisions that lay ahead.

“Nobody knows, because we’re not at the table making those decisions,” said the Rev. Lois Dejean of the Gert Town Revival Initiative.

The opportunity to thoroughly reinvent and improve the city could not be more profound; it is historically unprecendented. But as with the mayor’s Bring New Orleans Back Commission, the process could collapse under the weight of an intricate web of interests who must collaborate to produce action, some critics fear. Currently, the lines of authority and accountability remain murky at best. When it comes to crafting the endless discussed, all-encompassing “plan” to rebuild New Orleans,it’s unclear where the buck will stop.

For the full story, click on Planning Process Unclear.


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