Mayor Cantrell Announces Next Steps In Gordon Plaza Relocation

A sign outside of the fenced-off Press Park from a recent demonstration (Photo by Jesse Baum)

Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a statement today announcing the next steps in the planned relocation of Gordon Plaza residents as part of the city’s partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The city is opening a requisition for a third party to assess the value of properties of those residents who wish to move out of Gordon Plaza within the next two weeks.

“The City of New Orleans is proud to partner with the EPA to finally bring resolution to the residents of Gordon Plaza,” Cantrell’s statement said. “Working with our federal partners, we want to appropriately relocate residents who want to move and redevelop the site for clean energy initiatives that increase our resilience and reduce greenhouse gases. The first step is hiring a third party to assist in an assessment of the properties. The RFP for a third party will be out for public bid in the next two weeks.”

A study conducted in 2019 showed that the former Agriculture Street Landfill would be suitable for a solar farm to offer resilient solar power to the city. An additional study conducted by EPA Region 6 and its partners agreed the site was viable in 2021. On Wednesday, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced that the EPA will expedite a review of the Gordon Plaza site previously scheduled for 2023, moving the review to March 2022. This review will include an additional nine homes that were left out of previous review processes.

“On January 6, 2022, Administrator Regan met with Mayor Cantrell and Dr. Beverly Wright of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) to discuss a shared commitment between EPA and the City of New Orleans to work together on community-based solutions for the residents of Gordon Plaza,” a statement from the EPA said. “The solutions discussed would support relocation of community members off the land, provide economic opportunity for the City, advance clean energy, and lower greenhouse gas emissions in the area. Most importantly, they would ensure the health and safety of Gordon Plaza residents is protected. Administrator Regan and Dr. Wright committed to continue working closely with Mayor Cantrell and her team to advance these shared goals.”

Once the EPA reviews the entire site to determine land safety and the properties are assessed, the City will apply for funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in order to fund the construction of the solar farm.

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