Save Markey Park
Support Markey Park remaining an Off-Leash Area for Dogs
NORDC General Meeting, May 7th, 5pm, City Hall, City Council Chambers
Support Bywater's Beloved Markey Park Remaining an Off-Leash Area for Dogs
On Monday, February 25, NORD is/was slated to close down Markey Park in the Bywater. Preceding this, there were a series of lively, well-attended meetings about how to redevelop the park with a grant from the Trust for Public Land. Overwhelmingly the neighborhood wants part of the park to remain an off-leash dog park.
The design firm came up with three plans, all of which divided the space into a playground, a dog park, and a free space. The meetings were a testament to civic involvement, cooperation and democracy.
Shockingly, NORD, surreptitiously commissioned its own plan, without an area for dogs, and rammed it through, not allowing any input from the community. This park is an integral community meeting place and we want to have some say in what becomes of it! Let's use this space to organize and make our voices heard on this issue!
1. This is not people vs. dogs. Dogs parks are good for people! There are more people who own dogs than have children in this country. Dog parks are social and recreational spaces for people.
2. There is space for everyone: people with dogs, people with children, and people with neither. Three plans exist for MMP that divide the space so that everyone can be happy.
3. Communities, not developers and bureaucrats, should decide what happens to their public spaces. Through a commendable process of civic engagement, our community decided what to do with this park, and it is being disregarded by the powers that be.
Our core membership consists of a booster club who has been caring for this park, which had been abandoned by the City, for nearly 15 years. We created a playground, mowed the grass and turned this park into an integral community meeting place. This dynamic public space is being threatened by a combination of factors, mostly, the leadership at Bywater Neighborhood Association (BNA) and New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC).
We contend that the Bywater Neighborhood Association is a special-interest group that does not represent the majority of the community. They are not democratically elected, and we reject that they get to control what happens to our public spaces. Furthermore, since they obtained a sizeable grant from the Trust for Public Land to redevelop the park: 1. The BNA’s own surveys have shown that the majority of the neighborhood wants an off leash area dogs. 2. The community came out in large numbers to the planning meetings with TPL, which resulted in 3 plans that all included on off-leash area for dogs – but were unilaterally rejected by NORDC. 3. It has recently been uncovered that BNA sent secretive communication to TPL telling them that they did not support a dog park, despite the obviously strong desire for one by the constituency.