Since the late 1990s, the City of New Orleans had been planning the redevelopment of the St. Bernard neighborhood public housing complex, which was constructed in the 1940s and in a non-repairable state. That opportunity arose shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck when a private developer was chosen to construct and manage the redevelopment that would help revitalize the neighborhood.
GEC was chosen to provide professional services consisting of planning, design, and construction administration for the demolition and reconstruction of approximately 12,350 linear feet of existing city streets for the new housing which would become known as the Columbia Parc housing revitalization. It created 426 new modern residential units to replace the dilapidated units. GEC’s design conformed to the City of New Orleans standard street cross section and included new ADA-accessible intersections. The project was constructed in three phases.
The $12M infrastructure improvements, consisting of new landscaping, green infrastructure, sewer and water systems, street paving, and street lighting, were designed in accordance with requirements of the City and Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. Plans and specifications were submitted to and approved by the City of New Orleans Dept. of Public Works and NOSWB. In 2017, GEC was contracted to perform civil and landscape architectural services related to a new clinic and gym at Columbia Parc.
GEC prepared a stormwater analysis in accordance with recently implemented City codes to address stormwater management and drainage design. GEC’s design included impervious portland cement concrete driveways, aisles, and parking spaces. To comply with the new stormwater codes, drain inlets from the parking will lead to bioretention basins featuring plantings focused on native trees, grasses, sedges, and rushes. The new bioswales will provide habitat, biodiversity, beauty, and a significant increase of on-site stormwater retention relative to conventional drainage systems. The landscape design also includes street trees and parking island plantings.
GEC’s professional services included construction phase administration including review of testing laboratory reports, field inspection reports, contractor’s payment request, and final inspection of completed work. Upon completion, the work was accepted by the City of New Orleans and the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. This project was completed in 2019. The following streets were designed and reconstructed as part of this work: St. Bernard Avenue to Hamburg Street, Jumonville Street to Hamburg Street, Senate Street to Sere Street, and Senate Street to Foy Street.
Currently, GEC is providing design of the future expansion of this development and is coordinating the installation of sewer and water connections for the expansion south of Senate Street in coordination with the DPW RR 165 project under construction