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NORD Deserves Better



We have an obligation to provide quality recreation and enrichment programs for all of our young people. It's an integral component of both making our streets safe and improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods.

  That's why I've been working closely with the City Council on a public-private partnership that will manage and provide new resources for our recreation efforts.

  First, we must put in place a board of commissioners to oversee this public-private partnership. We looked at best practices, including our neighbors in Baton Rouge, to come up with our current proposal. Orleans Parish residents from each council district with subject-area expertise in arts and culture, sports, law, accounting or finance, and those who use recreation programs or facilities, will be included. Additionally, we will include representatives of the Recovery School District, the Orleans Parish School Board and the City Planning Commission.

  This mix of individuals is representative of the wide-ranging interests and subject-matter experts needed to make the city's recreation department work.

  Second, we must adequately fund recreation and put in place a steady funding stream. If NORD is a priority, as we all agree it is, then we must fund it accordingly. A proposed millage to fund NORD never made it to my desk for signature this year. To raise private dollars, we have proposed a fundraising foundation to compliment the new board, just like our neighbors in Baton Rouge. The foundation would be steered by community leaders, including representatives of the Saints and Hornets. In the next several years, we will also spend tens of millions of federal recovery dollars re-creating our parks and playgrounds.

  With the public's support for this charter change on Oct. 2, we can create a recreation department worthy of our children's promise.

Mitch Landrieu is the mayor of New Orleans.

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