November 16, 2004
HANO WELCOMES RESIDENTS AT RIVER GARDEN GRAND OPENING
NEW ORLEANS - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) celebrated the grand opening of the newly constructed River Garden community today. HUD Assistant Secretary Michael Liu joined Councilperson Renee Gill-Pratt and other partners involved in the newly developed community to welcome former residents back to the former St. Thomas public housing development.
"This is a great day for New Orleans and its citizens," said Liu who presented a plant to Sherille Cooper, one of the returning residents. "Thanks to the efforts of many - HANO, the city, the state and the private sector - today we celebrate an effort that is turning dreams into reality."
The grand opening is set exactly one year to the day of last year's groundbreaking ceremony. Currently, there are 32 completed units of which 17 are filled. When the first phase of the mixed-income community is completed, it will feature 296 units with 122 new public housing units and 174 market-rate units.
When all seven phases of the new St. Thomas development are completed there will be a total of 1,238 units, which will include additional public housing and market-rate rental units, elderly housing, single-family affordable and market-rate homes for purchase, condominiums and a continuing care retirement community at the original location. Additionally, the development will include Section 8 rental and affordable homeownership units at a different location.
The estimated cost of the River Garden redevelopment is $320 million funded through HUD, State Capital outlay funds, the City of New Orleans, private funding and tax-increment financing.
Today's grand opening is part of the overall transformation of HANO that began two years ago when HUD took control of the housing authority. Through the intense effort of HUD's receivership team, state and local leaders lent their support to HUD's mission and supplied the necessary assistance to complete this first phase of River Garden.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.
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