Catch the tulips in peak bloom now at New Orleans City Park. The bulbs were transported from Colorado and planted last month, and are resplendent on the banks of Big Lake just outside the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Do you use the parks? Want them to be better? Use your voice!

New Orleans officials are seeking public input on the future of the city’s park system, the next step in a multiyear planning process aimed at increasing access to greenspaces. The creation of a park master plan, deemed the Big Green Easy Project, kicked off last year, and is part of an agreement that accompanied a 2019 millage that will fund city parks for two more decades. It aims to create a long-term blueprint for the city’s system of parks, most of which are governed by separate entities, to increase access and better use the greenspaces for flooding mitigation and the protection of natural habitat.

Now is the time to comment or to get involved.

Now, New Orleanians have the chance to weigh in on what parks and public spaces should look like. Officials are asking the public for input via a survey, participating in community workshops or joining the planning team as a paid ambassador. “The community engagement phase is a core priority of the city’s park and recreation master plan,” said Larry Barabino Jr., CEO of the New Orleans Recreation Department Commission, which is working in partnership with the city’s Department of Parks and Parkways, the Audubon Nature Institute and New Orleans City Park. “This plan will ultimately decide the future of our city’s parks and recreation services. I encourage residents to actively participate in all of the planned community engagement opportunities.” The survey polls residents about their usage of parks, greenways and recreation facilities — including pools, gyms and outdoor fitness classes — their satisfaction with the spaces and what should be improved. Four community workshops will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on March 6 at the Joe Brown Recreation Center, 5601 Read Blvd., on March 7 at the Treme Recreation Center, 900 N. Villere St., March 8 at Morris F.X. Jeff Recreation Center, 2529 General Meyer Ave., and March 9 at Dominion Learning Center Audubon Auditorium, 6500 Magazine St. Residents can also apply to join the planning committee as a Parks Ambassador, a position that entails an estimated 80 hours of work from March to May, with a stipend of $2,400. Ambassadors will help with outreach, lead community events and organize feedback.

The parks are supported by tax revenue.

In 2019, New Orleans voters approved a 6.31-mill tax that was expected to generate at least $22 million a year over the next two decades. The millage combined park taxes, which previously had been collected separately for the entities, and for the first time City park is receiving some of the property tax revenue. The city hired Design Workshop, an urban planning group that oversaw the Lafitte Greenway, for the required master planning process. The planning group has said it will prioritize equity, which it defines as “a commitment to a just, fair and incisive park and recreation system that is tailored to meet the unique needs of New Orleans’ communities, particularly those that are underserved.” In a statement accompanying a news release about the survey, Mayor LaToya Cantrell encouraged residents to “actively participate and become involved in how their city’s parks are shaped.” “We embrace this holistic approach that improves our residents’ quality of life by beautifying our city and does it in an intentional way to make us more resilient for the future,” she said.

Start by centralizing the control and responsibility to one agency.

The parks are being revamped