Kodak American Greenways Award

News Release
Mid City Neighborhood Organization
P.O. Box 791023
New Orleans, LA 70170
Jennifer Weishaupt, 504-729-0888
[New Orleans, LA ( May 7, 2008)]The Mid-City Neighborhood Organization (MCNO) has received a national honor accompanied by a grant from the Kodak American Greenways Awards Program. The $1000 grant will help in the implementation of the Carrollton Avenue to Jefferson Davis Parkway portion of the Lafitte Corridor Greenway. In addition to receiving the grant award, MCNO will be showcased as a national model for its innovative efforts to develop a greenway in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Since 1992, the Kodak American Greenways Awardsadministered by The Conservation Fund, a recognized leader in working with local communities to expand the nation’s network of linked open spaceshas provided more than 630 seed grants to nonprofit organizations and government agencies to help develop new greenway projects. The awards are meant to provide initial funding to spark creativity in conservation, outdoor recreation and trail and greenway development. To date, the program has distributed roughly $764,000.
The Mid-City Neighborhood Organization is one of 31 groups nationwide honored for their innovative efforts to add green space and routes for pedestrians and non-motorized transportation to the urban environment. MCNO has done this by supporting creation of the Lafitte Greenway, which will convert a largely derelict strip of land in New Orleans, Louisiana, known as the Lafitte Corridor, into a linear park or greenway that includes a bike/walking path. The Greenway, following the old Norfolk/Southern rail line, will extend 3 miles from Basin Street to Canal Boulevard and will link the French Quarter in the south to City Park in the north and neighborhoods in between that are adjacent to the path (Tremé/Lafitte, Tulane/Gravier, Mid-City, Faubourg St. John, Parkview, Navarre/South Lakeview and Esplanade Ridge). The Greenway will also connect two existing bike paths that run along the Jefferson Davis Parkway and Wisner Boulevard. At its widest point, the park will be 200 feet in width and therefore can accommodate trees and other floral plantings, benches and sculpture. The pathway will not only provide an alternate and safe form of transportation for commuting residents, school children and recreational users, but will transform a barren area with an industrial feel into a place of beauty and civic pride.
Additionally, the Lafitte Greenway will have a significant heritage component since its own past is vitally entwined with that of the City of New Orleans. The southern half of the Greenway between the French Quarter and Bayou St. John traces the route of the Carondolet Canal which was constructed by the Spanish colonial government to facilitate commerce between the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The turning basin for this canal provided the name of New Orleans’s famous “Basin Street” where the downtown trailhead of the Greenway will be located. Plans for the Greenway include signs detailing this rich history and pointing out nearby sites of cultural and historic interest.
The Lafitte Corridor has been identified since the 1970’s as a prime location for a public open space amenity. Since early 2006, MCNO, together with Friends of Lafitte Corridor (FOLC), has been actively advocating for the building of a greenway through the Corridor, reaching out to stakeholders and working with government agencies to begin planning and implementation of the project. The Lafitte Greenway has also been endorsed in both the neighborhood-level and district-level post-Katrina recovery plans for New Orleans.
The Lafitte Greenway was a high-priority project for Mid-City and other neighborhoods that border the corridor. It is a key aspect of rebuilding our neighborhood, said MCNO President Jennifer Weishaupt.
This year’s award winners represent some of the best grassroots conservation and greenway development efforts in the United States, said The Conservation Fund’s president, Larry Selzer. The Fund is proud to support these thoughtful, action-oriented local initiatives that will serve as models for other communities around the country.
The Kodak American Greenways Awards are made possible through the generous support of the Eastman Kodak Company. As the world’s imaging leader, Kodak sets the standard in traditional picture taking, while working to bring the latest in digital imaging technologies to the marketplace. The Kodak American Greenways Awards Grants Review Committee consists of conservation experts from around the country. The committee selected grant recipients this year from a pool of 130 qualified applicants.
The Mid-City Neighborhood Organization
MCNO’s primary goal is to improve the quality of life for all residents of the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans. In pursuit of this goal, MCNO has been an active voice in the rebuilding of the Mid-City neighborhood following the levee failures that flooded the area in August 2005. MCNO hosts monthly neighborhood meetings on topics of interest to residents; publishes a quarterly newsletter, Heart of the City; advocates at City Hall on issues of importance to residents; seeks funding for projects identified in the Mid-City Plan; and encourages community events like the popular Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo Festival.
The Conservation Fund
The Conservation Fund is the nation’s foremost environmental nonprofit dedicated to protecting America’s land and water legacy for current and future generations. Seeking innovative conservation solutions for the 21st century, the Fund works to integrate economic and environmental goals. Since its founding in 1985, the Fund has helped its partners safeguard wildlife habitat, working landscapes, community “greenspace,” and historic sites totaling nearly 6 million acres. With 1% fund raising costs and 97% program allocation, The Conservation Fund is recognized as one of the nation’s top-rated environmental nonprofits by both the American Institute of Philanthropy and Charity Navigator.

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