Volunteer effort of sports hospitality company aids New Orleans Recreation Development Commission’s restoration of city parks
NEW ORLEANS (Feb.14, 2011) – About 60 executives of Delaware North Companies Sportservice left a positive mark on two New Orleans parks and their youth recreation facilities during the sports hospitality and food service provider’s recent annual meetings.
Sportservice’s primarily Buffalo, N.Y.,-based corporate executives and its general managers from ballparks, stadiums and arenas across the United States and Canada spent the day on Jan. 27 in a volunteer effort to clean up Taylor and Comiskey parks. The youth recreation facilities at both parks have fallen into disrepair and been closed at times since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
At Taylor Park, the executives repainted the entire clubhouse complex, picked up trash around the park and even removed a large steel pole from the ground that posed a safety hazard. At Comiskey Park, they hauled out a truckload of accumulated debris and swept up dirt and broken glass throughout the complex.
Sportservice President Rick Abramson, who once worked in New Orleans, brought the company’s meetings to the city after a personal invitation from Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
“As a company in the hospitality industry, we wanted to do our part to restore corporate tourism to a great city,” Abramson said. “Delaware North and Sportservice also have a tradition of giving back to communities, so helping to restore these parks for the kids was a great way to do that.”
The company’s cleanup effort was encouraged by New Orleans City Councilman-at-Large Arnie Fielkow, who has spearheaded the rehabilitation of New Orleans recreation facilities by creating the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, a public private partnership to oversee the city’s parks and playgrounds. The New Orleans Hornets are also working with the commission on the overall park restoration effort.
“What you are doing is making a contribution that will have a legacy for years to come,” Fielkow told the Sportservice executives prior to the park cleanup.
Taylor Park is one of eight priority recreation facilities set to go back online in 2011, said Vic Richard, the commission’s interim director. New Orleans should have an additional eight playgrounds active in 2011, increasing the total of active playgrounds in the city to 34 from the current 26. Taylor Park houses one of the four additional pools that will be refurbished in 2011 to bring the city from 8 to 12 active pools. For the first time since Hurricane Katrina, Taylor Park will have an onsite supervisor this year, Richard said.
Sportservice operates food and retail services at 50 stadiums, ballparks and arenas across the country, though none in New Orleans. Since Katrina, Delaware North’s Travel Hospitality Services division, which operates restaurants at Louis Armstrong International Airport, has sponsored the construction of two homes in New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity.