The latest effort to redevelop the site of the abandoned Six Flags amusement park in New Orleans East hit a snag Tuesday.
The Industrial Development Board, a public corporation that manages the property, decided against selecting an outside firm to appraise the property’s value. Members were concerned about whether the lowest bidder for the job might have a conflict of interest.
That bidder, Thorns Consulting, wanted to charge the board $22,500. The company is run by former IDB President Jimmie Thorns Jr., who resigned from the board in 2008.
Some board members said picking Thorns for the job would send the wrong message. A vocal minority, on the other hand, said Thorns has been off the board long enough that his former affiliation didn’t matter.
The board ultimately rejected Thorns but did not select any of the other companies that applied to do the appraisal.
he board’s attorney said he would ask all the would-be appraisers for more details. Board President Alan Philipson said the board would consider that information in June.
Members are seeking an appraisal in preparation for a possible sale of the Six Flags site, which has been a thorn in the board’s side for years. The site has been the subject of one scuttled redevelopment plan after another since Hurricane Katrina.
Meanwhile, the board and Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration are at odds over the site’s management. A 2009 agreement gave the IDB the property’s title while tasking former Mayor Ray Nagin’s administration with its management.
But that agreement was never signed by city officials, an oversight that allowed the city to bow out of its commitment, board members said.
The Landrieu administration has said it does not have the resources to manage the site.
Read more about the Six Flags issue at theneworleansadvocate.com