Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Broken Promises and Green Space

The Uptown Messenger reported on Tuesday night's meeting to discuss the Recovery School District's amended plans for the Central City, Uptown and Garden District schools. 

There are many important issues at stake. But what immediately caught my eye was that the RSD has removed Hoffman Elementary from the plan entirely, as 'no longer needed'. This is a shocking revelation. 

In 2009 The RSD made a public promise before the City Council and neighborhood representatives to move Hoffman from an unfunded phase (perhaps 6?) to phase one or two. With this promise, the neighborhood changed their position from supporting preservation to demolition, as they desperately wanted a school for their community.

On September 17, 2009 the New Orleans City Council voted to overturn the NCDC decision to deny a demolition permit for Hoffman Elementary School, 2622 S. Prieur Street. Councilwoman Stacy Head expressed regret regarding ordering the demolition of a historic structure. [At the hearing] representatives of the Recovery School District verbally promised to move the Hoffman site up to phase two, and possibly phase one if they can secure the financing. It is tragic that the RSD outright refuses to renovate this structure. The building assessment in the School Facilities Master Plan indicated that it would cost $2.2 million LESS to renovate Hoffman, but they would prefer to start over.

Hoffman Elementary (architect Charles Colbert, 1954) was razed in February of 2010. Fast forward 2011 and now the RSD has determined there will be no school in the Hoffman Triangle. Tragically the neighborhood was not just hoodwinked into supporting demolition in their desperation for a school in their neighborhood, but they also lost a significant modern structure which could have been adapted to serve the community in other ways had it not been demolished.

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