Occupy NOLA Is Happy to Share Save Markey Park’s Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
We, a group on New Orleans residents we are calling “Save Markey Park!,” are holding a demonstration of support for keeping part of Mickey Markey Park (700 Piety Street in Bywater) an off-leash dog park. On Sunday March 3rd from 11am-1pm we are calling on our community to assemble, with dogs, at the park. Between social media membership, on-line petitions and organizing at the park, itself, we have between 300 and 400 human members and counting. We are hoping our peaceful protest will send a message to the powers that be, that we, the people, want a say in how our public spaces are developed.
Our key points:
1. This is not people vs. dogs. Dogs parks are good for people! There are more people who own dogs than have children in this country. Dog parks are social and recreational spaces for people.
2. There is space for everyone: people with dogs, people with children, and people with neither. Three plans exist for MMP that divide the space so that everyone can be happy.
3. Communities, not developers and bureaucrats, should decide what happens to their public spaces. Through a commendable process of civic engagement, our community decided what to do with this park, and it is being disregarded by the powers that be.
Our core membership consists of a booster club who has been caring for this park, which had been abandoned by the City, for nearly 15 years. We created a playground, mowed the grass and turned this park into an integral community meeting place. This dynamic public space is being threatened by a combination of factors, mostly, the leadership at Bywater Neighborhood Association (BNA) and New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC).
We contend that the Bywater Neighborhood Association is a special-interest group that does not represent the majority of the community. They are not democratically elected, and we reject that they get to control what happens to our public spaces. Furthermore, since they obtained a sizeable grant from the Trust for Public Land to redevelop the park: 1. The BNA’s own surveys have shown that the majority of the neighborhood wants an off leash area dogs. 2. The community came out in large numbers to the planning meetings with TPL, which resulted in 3 plans that all included on off-leash area for dogs – but were unilaterally rejected by NORDC. 3. It has recently been uncovered that BNA sent secretive communication to TPL telling them that they did not support a dog park, despite the obviously strong desire for one by the constituency.
Please come out and hear what we have to say!