‘Something Worth Saving’: Construction Begins Reviving This Sprawling Jefferson Parish Property | Immovable
Hope may return to Hope Haven after years of neglect.
Long-planned restoration and redevelopment work is underway on the sprawling property on the west side of Boulevard Barataria in Marrero, as teams work to stabilize and preserve two Spanish Colonial Revival style buildings and build a walking path through the trees at the southern end of the leaflet. And while the master plan for the 10-acre site is still being drafted, officials say more walking trails, an outdoor concert hall and theater, and an indoor pool could help turn the dormant site into a site that improves the health and culture of West Jefferson.
âIt’s something worth saving,â said Louisiana State Senator Pat Connick, R-Marrero, who said he was working to bring money to the State to help Hope Haven since being elected to the Legislative Assembly in 2007. able to improve the quality of life in the West Bank and the region.
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Built by the Roman Catholic Church between 1925 and 1940, Hope Haven began as a cooperative farm, school, and home for orphan boys ages 12 and older, and it has housed children until the 1980s. , many buildings had fallen into disrepair.
More recently, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of four adults alleging that priests in Hope Haven assaulted them as children in the 1970s and 1980s.
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The property and buildings on the east side of Barataria are still operated by the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and restoration and reuse is already underway, including the St. John Bosco Chapel which now serves the elderly and disabled via the PACE Greater New Orleans church. ministry.
But on the west side, tangible progress has only started in recent years. The Jefferson Parish government signed a 99-year lease with the Archdiocese about five years ago, and Connick, whose district includes the site, got $ 5 million to stabilize the two largest buildings in the property, both of which needed new roofs and had an exposed interior. to the elements for years.
About a year ago, crews completed $ 1.2 million worth of work on the approximately 30,000 square foot Feingold Center, gutting it down, removing asbestos, securing windows, and stripping inside. beams. Next is the $ 2.4 million Dilbert Administration Building, which once housed the orphanage in the center of the property; the 51,000 square foot building will receive the same treatment from next month.
“This will give us two great buildings that we can put back into service,” said city councilor Deano Bonano, whose neighborhood includes the site.
The parish-funded $ 1.3 million walking trail, which will include an adult exercise area, playground, restrooms and parking for 30 vehicles, is also planned. This work could be done by early next year.
Later phases, which have yet to be funded, could see an extension of the walking path around the property and the conversion of the tree-lined area behind the Dilbert building to an outdoor event venue for public concerts or for rent for weddings and parties.
Regarding the use of buildings, Bonano said Jefferson wanted to partner with Ochsner Health System or LCMC Health for some sort of health and wellness education, which would help fight the rates. high rates of heart disease and diabetes in the area. He said one item under discussion is an indoor swimming pool that would provide a place for recreation and improve the health of the community.
The property has five other smaller buildings, including a former gymnasium and pool house.
Whether it’s through partnerships, operating revenue, or a combination of the two, âwhatever we do, at the end of the day, we have to be able to sustain it,â Bonano said.
The master plan for the property is being drafted by NY & Associates, based in Metairie. It is due to be completed in about six months, Bonano said.
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