FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 31, 2017
Jasmine Haralson, Director of External Affairs
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Anna Corin Koehl, Beuerman Miller Fitzgerald
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NEW ORLEANS REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY TRANSFERS 5200 DAUPHINE TO SANKOFA COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Neighborhood Community Center planned for Holy Cross Residents
New Orleans, LA – The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) is pleased to announce the transfer of property at 5200 Dauphine Street to the Sankofa Community Development Corporation (Sankofa). The property, donated to NORA by the Preservation Resource Center, was awarded to Sankofa, a non-profit organization founded by Rashida Ferdinand in the Lower 9th Ward, through a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Ownership, Operation and Maintenance in September 2016.
The commercial property, which has been shuttered for decades, will be put back into commerce as a neighborhood community resource center for residents of the historic Holy Cross and Lower Ninth Ward neighborhoods. The Sankofa Community Resource Center will serve as a community hub through which non-profit and community-based partner organizations will provide resources in the areas of fresh food access, small business development, voting advocacy, art making workshops, and environmental education. The center will also be a springboard for economic growth and house 15 co-working office spaces.
The reconstruction of the building was made possible by an allocation of Disaster Community Development Block Grant funds by the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development and administered by NORA through the Preservation Resource Center’s Operation Comeback.
“NORA’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for the revitalization of the city, engaging in strategic projects to positively impact neighbourhoods across the community,” said Brenda Breaux, NORA’s Executive Director. “We are excited about the prospects of bringing this property back on line for the community’s use.”
Sankofa, whose mission is to build healthier communities through food access, community health and environmental sustainability, will serve as an anchor tenant for the building. Community partner organizations including the Baptist Community Clinic, Big 9 Social Aid & Pleasure Club, House of Dance & Feathers, Lower Nine Stick & Steppers, Lower Ninth Ward Voter’s Coalition, Second Harvest Food Bank, and The Reconciliation Institute (TRI), will serve an advisory role providing diverse perspectives on building operations and community use. All partner organizations serve the Lower Ninth Ward community and/or are led by individuals who live in the Holy Cross and/or the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhoods.
The co-working office spaces will provide work stations for individuals or groups to develop their business and/or programs to serve the Lower Ninth Ward area. Co-working tenants will be provided with a locker, Wi-Fi, printing, and access to private meeting spaces. Co-working tenants will also receive small business idea development and implementation support from TRI.
“At Sankofa we strive to build healthier communities by collaborating with other community-based organizations to empower our residents through education and intergenerational learning,” said Rashida Ferdinand, Founder and Executive Director of Sankofa Community Development Corporation. “The Sankofa Community Resource Center will allow us to further our mission to build healthier communities by becoming an invaluable resource to our neighbors in the Holy Cross and Lower Ninth Ward.”
Sankofa operates fresh produce markets, healthy cooking classes and community gardens in the Lower Ninth Ward throughout the week. In addition, Sankofa will lead a food pantry and coordinate additional community activities.
The Sankofa Community Resource Center is expected to open its doors in the spring.
The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is a catalyst for the revitalization of the city, partnering in strategic developments that celebrate the city’s neighborhoods and honor its traditions.