After four years FEMA has decided to demolish and rebuild the Andrew Pete Sanchez center in the Lower Ninth Ward. A lot of things took place at Pete Sanchez. Up until Katrina it was the only place I ever voted. My grandmother used to go over there for the free health screenings. There were a lot of activities in there from basketball games to wedding receptions. I am glad FEMA is replacing it and I am sure the new building will be bigger and better than the old one. There was something in the article that bothered me and I wanted to blog about it in the hope that if I am just being naive and don’t know how these things work someone can explain it to me. Here is the quote from the newspaper article that concerned me:
"We are pleased by the FEMA declaration and have great plans to design a world-class community center for the people of the Lower 9th Ward," said William Chrisman, the city's capital projects director.Now here’s the confusing part to me. It’s 2009 and the city knows every building that is on the potential list of projects that FEMA is going to pay for. Why wouldn’t all these projects have plans and contractors lined up and ready to go immediately? Am I wrong for thinking that the day after FEMA finally decides to pay for these projects there should be a press conference from someone in the city with plans and a time frame for when it will be finished? It’s not like there are many buildings in the city that are new and state of the art. Shouldn’t we have plans for replacing everything even if we don’t have the money? I think four years is enough time to have plans that are ready to go immediately. Am I missing something? Before you answer yes or no please remember that we have plans for a medical complex that is so big we have to wipe out an entire neighborhood and we don’t have any money for that. I just think that if FEMA announced Monday morning they would pay for the demolition of the old Charity Hospital and would fund the rebuilding of a new facility, demolition of the old buildings would start in a week. Why should the people of the Lower Ninth Ward have to ride pass that building everyday hoping they see something happening? The people who came home to rebuild deserve a timetable on things like this.
He said the city "has been proceeding with the design of a new facility" but did not announce a timetable for demolishing the old complex or building a new one.