Long-awaited renovations to George Washington Carver Playground, near the levee in the Black Pearl neighborhood, will soon be underway. A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for Sept. 12 at 9:30 a.m., state Rep. Aimee Adatto Freeman announced Friday (Sept. 1).
The Carver Playground and the concessions building are in line for major upgrades, according to the city’s Capital Projects Administration. The existing equipment will be replaced with an expanded playground. The new playground will feature interactive equipment and enhanced safety and accessibility.
Decorative steel fencing will be also added to the Prytania Street entrance. The restrooms and concessions building will be renovated and brought up to code standards, with new kitchen facilities to support New Orleans Recreation Development Commission programming.
The baseball field will get a makeover in the second phase of improvements. Upgrades include regrading, new turf, high mast lighting and new fencing as well as covered dugouts, backstop netting and viewing bleachers. The start of this project is pending the receipt of a recently approved fund appropriation by the state.
Then-Rep. Neil Abramson began working on this project over 15 years ago, said Freeman, who has been continuing his efforts. In 2009, the covered basketball court at Prytania and Leak Street received some upgrades. However, it was not until this year that the necessary $777,253 in State Capital Outlay funding was secured for the rest of the park.
Much of Carver Park, 7410 Prytania, has appeared neglected over the years. In 2011, it was part of then-Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s “Fight the Blight” campaign. With paint brushes, rakes and hammers in hand, volunteers spent a Saturday in June 2011 sprucing up the facilities. The baseball field has since become an ad hoc dog park.
“I recognize that many of your dogs have played in the park, and this may be frustrating to some of you. My dogs have played there, too,” Freeman stated in an email to constituent. “Giving our New Orleans youth a safe place to play and spend time is essential to the future of our city.”