FAQs: revised 10/15/20
Is New Orleans City Park a city or state entity?
Though named New Orleans City Park, the Park is operated by the City Park Improvement Association and is a state agency.
What is New Orleans City Park’s mission statement?
Preserve and improve City Park spaces for recreational, educational, cultural and beautification purposes.
How is New Orleans City Park funded?
City Park is a 90/10 Park. Self-generated revenue makes up 90% of the current $17.5 million annual operating budget; City Park receives no general fund operating dollars from the city or the state. It does receive on average, $1.9 million from the state tax on slot machines mostly at the Fairgrounds. In fiscal year July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021, the Park has adopted a budget of $17.5 million dollars, reduced $4.5 million from the previous year. The state has budgeted $1.6 million dollars in slot tax funds down from $1.9 million from the previous year. The Park currently doesn’t receive any city tax revenue.
The New Orleans public voted to give the Park money as a part of a millage. What is that being used for currently?
The Park was placed into a shared millage from the city’s property taxes in May 2019. That money will begin in the first quarter of 2021 (there is no money to use in 2020). The money will be spent on long deferred and much needed infrastructure upgrades and operating expenditures. This is the first time City Park will receive funding from city taxes.
What’s currently open and generating revenue?
At limited access/admission numbers: Storyland, City Putt, Bayou Oaks golf courses and driving range, NOLA City Bark, New Orleans Botanical Garden, City Park/Pepsi Tennis Center, and limited activity on Sports Fields.
Did the Park apply and receive a SBA Loan through the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program)?
As a state agency, the Park does not qualify for PPP.
How much money does the Park make from attendance at the Louisiana Children’s Museum?
The Park doesn’t receive any money from LCM except for an annual payment of $36K for the use of the Park land. LCM is an independent organization.
How much money does the Park currently receive from NOMA and their sculpture garden?
The Park doesn’t receive any funds directly from NOMA, although it may receive a small share of the revenue NOMA is receiving from the admission charge in the Sculpture Garden. NOMA is an independent organization.
How much revenue has the Park lost associated with Covid-19?
Last Fiscal Year
For March-June, the Park lost $3,250,000 in budgeted revenue
Current Fiscal Year
For the first two months of this fiscal year (July and August), the Park lost almost $800,000 in revenue.
What is the Park’s operations budget? The Fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30 and the FY 20/21 budget is $17.5 million, down from $22 million in the previous year. The budget is heavily dependent on being able to open the Park’s normal revenue generating facilities in some capacity.
What efforts have been made to reduce expenses? Summary of Park actions since the Governor’s Stay at Home Order in March 2020:
Suspended contracts where possible
Stopped capital funding from operating budget
Cut staff salaries
Furloughed 98% of part time employees (over 270)
Furloughed one-third of full time staff (36 positions/people)
Stopped Park contributions to Park retirement plan
Repurposed athletics staff into the Grounds Department due to inability to host athletic events and to supplement trash pick-up and grass cutting.
Eliminated the Concessions Department and Environmental Sustainability Department keeping one part-time engineer to work on storm water projects and a part-time GIS technician.
Purchasing two new police cars with warranties from Tax Increment Funds to cut down on expensive vehicle repairs and provide better service to the community due to increase of visitors.
Repurposed half of the Grounds Horticulture staff to the Botanical Garden to support plant sale operations, which were increased to every weekend, to generate revenue.
Began weekly dinners in the Botanical Garden at the Outdoor Kitchen and showing movies in the Arbor Room.
Opened tennis, miniature golf, the Garden, Storyland, and some sports venues with capacity limits. Golf has remained open.
Submitted COVD-19 expenses for reimbursement to FEMA.
Applied for PPP loan program but were not deemed eligible as a state agency. Applied again in August and were rejected.
What has the Park done to request help?
The Park requested $2.0 million in immediate emergency funding in the state’s supplemental appropriations bill for FY19/20. This was not approved.
The Park also requested $5.0 million in emergency funding in the fiscal year 20/21 appropriations bill. This was not approved in either the regular or first special session of the legislature.
What pre-covid-19 was the park’s largest self generated revenue stream?
Catering/Weddings and events
Bayou Oaks Golf Complex
Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
Celebration in the Oaks
City Putt Miniature Golf
Millions of dollars were invested in Bayou Oaks and now you’re in trouble?
Bayou Oaks during this time is allowed to be open, it’s making money and that money has helped the Park stay open while other revenue drivers were/are closed.
What now - during pandemic -is the Park’s largest revenue stream?
Bayou Oaks Golf
During these months of pandemic, where is the money made being spent?
Park maintenance and operations
What pre-covid-19 was the largest source of expense?
What now - during pandemic - is the largest source of expense?
How is golf doing?
For the fiscal year ending in June, the Golf Complex netted approximately $230,000. $130,000 was put into the golf reserve fund and $100,000 was used to support other Park operations.
2019 was a year of opening new items in the Park, what new construction is planned for the near future?
No new construction is planned for the near future other than a maintenance facility (we’ve been working with FEMA on this project since 2005/Katrina)
I see soccer fields on Marconi looking great! If you don’t have funds or staff, how are they looking so well maintained?
Currently soccer isn’t allowed in the phase the city is in (no one’s playing on the fields so they look great) and the maintenance is being paid for by Louisiana Fire SoccerClub.
What is the role of Friends of City Park? Are they helping and how?
The Friends of City Park support the Park year round through fundraisers and volunteer activities. In the current situation they are supporting the development department’s operating expenses.
What is the composition of the Park’s Board of Commissioners?
The board is comprised of 35 members:12 are appointed and 23 are elected via the nominating committee of the board. In addition, there are two ex-officio members.
Appointed by: Governor, Mayor, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, New Orleans City Council (2), Friends of City Park (3), President of the Board of City Park, Jefferson Parish, Chamber of Commerce, Ex-officio: Past President of the Board of City Park and Botanical Garden Foundation President
Self-nominations are accepted. If you wish to nominate someone or yourself to serve on the board, send a letter of interest and your Curriculum Vitae to the Park CEO
How can you support New Orleans City Park right now?
Donate or volunteer
Areas of the Park that are not open but usually make revenue?
Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
Weddings and Event rentals
Sports fields rentals
Park events and fundraisers