After two months of speculation and public discussion on three proposed amendments to the City Park master plan, the parks board met this evening and made their decision: the television studio is out, a childrens museum is okay with certain restrictions and theres no need to decide yet who will manage the golf courses.
The meeting took place in the parks Pavilion of the Two Sisters and was presided over by Paul Masinter, board president. City Park CEO Bob Becker presented the board with his staffs evaluation regarding the three proposals, outlining each individually and then giving a final staff recommendation. Becker then presented a resolution to the board requesting their approval of the staff recommendations. The board passed the resolution unanimously.
Becker and his staff were impressed with LPB/WLAEs proposed studio, noting that it was a great effort, but ultimately they decided that the building was much closer to being a broadcast/office facility than a cultural facility. The parks master plan calls for three possible cultural facilities within a 50-acre range around the parks Roosevelt Mall area. While the park staff liked the idea of a music museum within the studio, it would only occupy 20 percent of the sites space with 80 percent devoted primarily to television programming, and therefore didnt satisfy the cultural facility requirement.
In regards to the Louisiana Childrens Museums idea to move from the downtown location to the park, Becker said that the museum obviously met the criteria as a cultural facility. He added that there are more than 70 childrens museums located in public parks nationwide, the idea of a museum was consistent with the parks mission and that it would promote utilization of other park spaces.
Becker stopped short of fully endorsing the childrens museum submission in its current form. He said the present proposal, which involves 35 acres of parkland, should be reduced to about 12 acres. Additionally, the staffs endorsement for the childrens museum requires that the Louisiana Childrens Museum make substantial progress within two years in the areas of planning, design and fundraising for the future museum. If the progress doesnt occur, City Park can then consider other proposals for the site.
Becker explained that the Bayou District Foundations (BDF) proposal to manage the parks golf courses made the most extensive changes to the parks master plan in terms of geography and park management. In consideration of this and because the none of the golf courses are yet in operation, the parks staff didnt feel it was necessary to make a decision at this time. Becker said there a number of options that could be explored before the park reopens the North Golf Course in late spring of 2008.
Birders and friends of Couturie Forest will be ecstatic to hear that the staff was against any reduction in the size of the forest the only modification to be considered would be to possibly allow the area currently dedicated to the softball complex and police horse stables be used for a golf complex.
By passing the resolution endorsing the staffs recommendations, this also allows Beck and Masinter to begin negotiations with BDF and the Louisiana Childrens Museum. Before approving the measure, one board member reminded the board and others in attendance that the decision-making process was far from over for these two proposals.
This is just a green light on two of the proposals to go from the batters box to first base.