LA: Rebuilding Projects

Though dirt will not turn for at least another year on many of the 391 public rebuilding projects overseen by City Hall, restoration of all public buildings and other damaged assets will be complete by 2010, New Orleans Recovery Director Ed Blakely told the City Council on Thursday.

“We started very slowly with our projects, construction design and so forth,” Blakely said. “By the fourth quarter of 2009, most of the building activity will have been completed, and by 2010, it will be over.”

In a broad overview of recovery progress, Blakely stressed that the projects, from rebuilding police stations and playgrounds to planting trees along major roads, reflect priorities laid out by residents in post-hurricane planning exercises, including the Unified New Orleans Plan.

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Several council members and a slew of audience members, however, criticized Blakely’s spending breakdown, particularly how $411 million in federal grants authorized by the Louisiana Recovery Authority will be divvied up among council districts.

Does anyone believe this optimism?

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