Lower Ninth Welcomes New Community Center
- Jun 11, 2015
By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor
New Orleans’ historic Lower Ninth Ward celebrated a major milestone in its recovery with the inauguration of a new community center that will offer services and activities throughout the age spectrum of the district’s residents. It will also increase police protection in the troubled neighborhood, which posts crime rates significantly higher than the national average, according to Point2Homes data.
Sanchez Center incorporates a health clinic, a senior center, a neighborhood commercial kitchen, multi-purpose and crafts classrooms, a computer lab, a reading room, a music room, art and dance studios, a gymnasium, a regulation-size indoor basketball court with retractable bleachers and performance stage, an 82-foot Olympic-size swimming pool and a game room. The energy-efficient facility also features bike racks and a landscaped outdoor activities area.
The $20.5 million Sanchez Center was developed through a public-private partnership, with financing provided through FEMA public assistance and Disaster Community Development Block Grant, Insurance and City Bond funds. The development team included 11 local disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) firms and Gibbs Construction of New Orleans, with design by Perez, APC of New Orleans.
The 65,000-square-foot facility replaces a 50,000-square-foot community center demolished in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Two more community centers are scheduled to open this summer in the neighborhoods of St. Claude and Bywater.
Image credit: Mayor Mitch Landrieu – City of New Orleans via Facebook