Armstrong Park Stakeholders Plan Voter Registration Drive; Await Council Action on Change to Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance

Photo courtesy of Save Our Soul Coalition Facebook Page

The Save Our Soul Coalition (SOS) will hold a voter registration drive Saturday, July 17 at Optimus Entertainment, 9820 Lake Forest Blvd. SOS opposes the proposed relocation of City Hall to the Morris F.X. Jeff Municipal Auditorium in Armstrong Park.

The effort to educate and sign-up new voters will take place from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. Other activities include entertainment and family activities. Free parking is available on site.

The drive is being hosted by Old & Nu Style Fellas and TremeSidewalk Steppers Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs. Also participating are the Lower Ninth Ward Voter’s Coalition and New Orleans East Matters. “We aim to change the dynamics of who and how we vote moving forward starting with the mayor and city council elections in October 2021,” said Sue Press, President of Ole & Nu Stye Fellas.

“It is vitally important that as many citizens as possible register to vote,” explained Cheryl Austin, Greater Treme Consortium. “We are especially looking to reach young people who will turn18 by October 13, 2021, as well as anyone who has recently moved to New Orleans,” said SOS member Sabrina Mays. “A voteless people is a voiceless people,” concluded Sean Martin, Vice President of Treme Sidewalk Steppers.

Stakeholders will also be back at the City Council Chambers Thursday, July 15, for an important public hearing on a new text to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.

The Council is creating an official process that will be used to study any proposed move of City Hall. Two weeks ago, Council President Helena Moreno and Councilmember At Large Donna Glapion introduced a motion that was approved unanimously to create the text amendment, which establishes a new use definition – City Hall. City Hall is defined as a building or complex of adjacent buildings that operates at the central hub of municipal government, including the office of the Mayor, the offices of the City Council, the customary meeting place of the governing authority, and the operations of a significant number of executive branch departments and charter-established board and commissions.

Any relocation would fall under the same “inclusive, community-centric approach” applied to every Conditional Use land-use decision. Early public input and several public meetings and approvals will be necessary before the project can proceed.

“Armstrong Park and Congo Square are sacred grounds and foundational to the sanctity of the historic Treme neighborhood. Relocating City Hall must be an inclusive, community-centric process and today, we took steps to require that any such relocation is led by the people and requires city approval. The Municipal Auditorium must be preserved and redeveloped for a Cultural purpose,” Moreno commented on Facebook.

“We are a government of and for the people, and if we are going to have a healthy and inclusive ecosystem in which we all co-exist, we have to constantly work together to make sure the decisions we make and the nerds of the people are not at cross purposes,” said Glapion in a prepared statement.

Last month the New Orleans City Council unanimously approved a motion by Councilmember Kristin Palmer to create the Protect Treme Interim Zoning District and temporarily block any activity on the proposed project.

“The residents of Treme have been left out of the decision to move City Hall to Armstrong Park. A project of this size will have a huge impact on the future of Treme. The people who live here  have to be at the table,” tweeted Palmer.

The Project Treme Interim Zoning District prohibits the Department of Safety and Permits from allowing developers to construct government offices, parking lots, or parking garages within Louis Armstrong Park for one year or until the City Council votes to dissolve the IZD.

Together both Council actions will significantly slow down the Administration’s efforts to move the relocation plan forward.



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