Officials are looking for a developer to revitalise a former Six Flags theme park in New Orleans that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
The theme park first opened in 2000 as Jazzland Theme Park. Six Flags took over the lease after Jazzland went bankrupt in two seasons. However, the park suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Karina in 2005, and it was never reopened.
The Industrial Development Board of the City of New Orleans then took control of the property that covers 162 acres. Since 2005 there have been several attempts to develop the site, but they have all fallen through.
Now, New Orleans’s Director of Economic Development, Jeff Schwartz, has said that the city will develop the area, the Texarkana Gazette reports.
February 2021 deadline for plans
During a virtual meeting, Schwartz said that “there’s a lot of water under the bridge so we want this to be the last time we have to do a solicitation for this site”.
Developers have been given until February 9 2021 to submit their ideas for the site. The city will then choose a short-list of developers who will need to submit a full proposal for both the abandoned theme park and the nearby 65-acre site that is close to the Bayou Sauvage.
City officials hope to have chosen a developer by the end of June 2021.
Redeveloped site could help the local economy
In 2019, the New Orleans Business Alliance compiled a report on the development of the site. It said that transportation and distribution companies would bring the most economic benefit to the city. However, residents would prefer an education or tourism-based development.
Schwartz explained that the priorities of residents have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic damaged the economy. “We know we need this site to come back as a key publicly-owned asset as a way of driving the economy of the future,” he said.
Incentives will be given by the city for a project that stimulates growth and encourages entrepreneurs in the community.