#City & Town Planning
Governor, LSU-BOS, Commissioner Dardenne, Mayor Cantrell, Public Representatives of District B
United States of America

Dear Citizens and Residents of Louisiana,

By now you are likely aware that New Orleans is once again in the midst of an orchestrated top-down planning process by LSU to determine the adaptive reuse of our long shuttered and abandoned Charity Hospital and surrounding area. Once again, the process excludes the public. If you agree that public input on state owned buildings must precede any new development, we hope you will consider signing our petition.

Your signature will go to the Governor, The Commissioner of Administration, The LSU Board of Supervisors, Mayor Cantrell, all City Councilmembers and State and Congressional leaders representing District B.

Charity Hospital Planning: Slowing Down a Done Deal is Still a Done Deal:

Louisiana State University’s [LSU] process for the adaptive reuse of the state-owned New Orleans Charity Hospital is lagging slightly but still on track despite the fact that no public meetings have been held to solicit ideas for the Building.

On July 25th, Andy Kopplin of the Greater New Orleans Foundation [GNOF] began the first of a handful of public meetings scheduled between now and September 15th as part of a strategic plan for the “Spirit of Charity Innovation District” — a name coined by the Urban Land Institute that was commissioned last fall by the LSU Real Estate and Facilities Foundation to make recommendations on potential uses for the million square foot Building. The plan is to solicit ideas from New Orleanians on the design of the district however Charity Hospital is hands off.

On July 12, 2018 — Kevin Litten of NOLA.com reported:

“The Spirit of Charity community engagement process is on a fast track. Meetings and interviews will continue through August, and Kopplin said he plans to finish the strategic planning process by Sept. 15. Kopplin said the public will be asked to fill in the details.”

Oddly, the meeting was scheduled just 5 days before LSU’s Request For Proposals [RFP] are due for three developers who qualified earlier this year. The developers are: New Orleans-based HRI Properties, Matthews Southwest and a partnership between El Ad US Holdings and CCNO Development.

Unsurprisingly, there was strong pushback by people who attended the meeting who felt it impossible to plan a district without first knowing how Charity Hospital will be repurposed. Participants asked that no further development of Charity Hospital or ancillary buildings happen until there has been a robust public input process on the use of the Building itself.

Others at the July 25th meeting expressed the sentiment that good planning of any publicly owned buildings or land assets must begin with first soliciting ideas from people who reside in the community and would be impacted by any new development. Then and only then should requests for qualifications and proposals be issued.

“I think it’s interesting the cart is pulling the horse already,” former City Councilman Oliver Thomas said during a discussion on economic inclusion. “If you get the wrong developer, you’re not going to get the right outcomes.”

To appease the public, LSU extended the RFP deadline until August 20th — the theory being that somehow public ideas may result in developers modifying their plans. LSU also released summaries of proposals submitted by developers in response to the RFQ. No information was released that indicated any other proposals were submitted to LSU in response to the RFQ though at least one other was published by the author on the date of submission. (1)

It seems that the planning process handed to the LSU Board of Supervisors by Governor Edwards (2), and orchestrated by the LSU Foundation and its Real Estate and Facilities arm, has once again resulted in people having to fight for inclusion, transparency, accountability and justice.

This is unacceptable in 21st Century America.

(1) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/desperately-needed-charity-center-excellence-mental-healthcare-hays/
(2) From Pages 118–128 of this agenda (Listed as Page 80–90 of 332):
September 8, 2017 — LSU BOS Meeting authorizing the current Charity Hospital redevelopment scheme. https://lsu.edu/bos/docs/agendas/2017/lsu-board-meeting-notice-20170908-v2.pdf

As a resident of Louisiana, I urge that you ensure no further development of Charity Hospital or ancillary buildings occur until there has been a complete and robust public input process conducted by an impartial, third-party agency on their adaptive reuse.

I urge that you support scrapping the ongoing LSU Real Estate and Facilities Foundation Process and instead support the reissuing of a Request for Qualifications [RFQ] and a Request for Proposals [RFP] only after soliciting ideas from New Orleanians; and only after completion of a thorough health, environmental and social impact assessment study in the area bounded by Poydras Street, Loyola Avenue-Basin Street, Bienville Street and Claiborne Avenue.

I urge that if the name “Charity” is to be used to memorialize any redevelopment of the area, you support only efforts that focus on uses that meet the needs of those in crisis; the underserved; and the under-resourced; achieving and surpassing the 279 year legacy if its predecessor, reflecting the true "Spirit of Charity".

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The Charity Hospital: Public planning must precede development on public projects petition to Governor, LSU-BOS, Commissioner Dardenne, Mayor Cantrell, Public Representatives of District B was written by Save Charity Hospital dot com and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.