Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Proposal to Demolish & Replace Wesley Barrow Stadium in Pontchartrain Park

The following notice was published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

Public Notice Regarding Section 106 Review of the City of New Orleans’ (City) Proposal to Demolish and Replace the Wesley Barrow Stadium, 6500 Press Drive, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, LA with funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – Seeking Public Comment

The City has applied for FEMA Public Assistance funds to demolish and replace the Wesley Barrow Stadium, 6500 Press Drive, New Orleans. The proposed new stadium will increase the size of the existing facility from approximately 2,900 square feet to 4,670 square feet, and have a seating capacity of 650 persons. The new facility will have a different orientation on the existing site, moving from the north corner of the lot to the northwest corner. This reorientation is required for safety and is based on a recommendation by Major League Baseball. A T-ball field will be added in the north corner of the lot. The parking lot facing Hayne Boulevard and Press Drive will be resurfaced. There will be no new access drives or any work within 180 feet of the crown of the railroad levee.

The project site is bounded by Hayne Boulevard on the North/Northwest; Press Drive and Southern University of New Orleans (SUNO) on the West and South; and Pontchartrain Park and on the South and East. FEMA has determined, in consultation with the SHPO, that the Area of Potential Effects (APE) for Standing Structures includes the project site, as well as Pontchartrain Park and a portion of the SUNO campus. The APE for Archaeology is the 8.31 acres project site. These APEs are depicted in Figure 1.

Pontchartrain Park is a mid-twentieth century subdivision that was one of the first planned communities in New Orleans designed specifically for middle and upper income African-Americans. FEMA, in consultation with the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), determined in December 2005 that Pontchartrain Park is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The Pontchartrain Park Historic District is locally significant for its association with community development and racial relations in the City of New Orleans. Its period of historical significance is 1955 – 59, and the contributing elements to the historic district are the Joe Bartholomew Golf Course, the park around the perimeter of the golf course, a portion of the residential neighborhood on the east side, and Barrow Stadium. Barrow Stadium, constructed in 1957, is the only structure inside the park that FEMA determined to be a contributing element to the historic district and it is an integral part of the original design of Pontchartrain Park. The Park and Barrow Stadium both retain cultural importance as symbols of the quality recreational opportunities that Pontchartrain Park offered its youth.

The majority of the APE falls inside the NRHP-eligible Pontchartrain Park Historic District, however the SUNO Administration Building, just outside the historic district, is within the APE. This building was determined by FEMA, in consultation with SHPO, to be individually eligible for the NRHP in July 2010. Built in 1959, the SUNO Administration Building is significant under Criterion A for its historic association with ethnic heritage (African-American), social history, and the history of education.

FEMA has concluded that the prehistoric and historic archaeological potential of the APE appears to be very low given the recent nature of the historic development in this area and the amount of previous ground disturbance. FEMA has determined that the proposed project will not affect archaeological properties.

FEMA has determined that the proposed demolition will adversely affect the National Register eligible Wesley Barrow Stadium. Additional effects to the National Register eligible Pontchartrain Park Historic District and the SUNO Administration Building may be caused by the design of the new stadium. FEMA is seeking input from members of the public on ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any Adverse Effects.

Any member of the public is encouraged to provide views on this project to FEMA. Comments can be submitted to FEMA for a 15-day period beginning on April 15, 2011 at or by regular mail.

Mailed comments should be sent to:
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office
New Orleans, LA 70114

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