Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel announced today that Ben Berthelot will chair a new Parks and Recreation Exploratory Committee. The committee will be charged with examining other city parks and recreation departments across the country before making recommendations as to how Lafayette could possibly reorganize its department. Durel announced during his State of the Parish Address last month that he would like to explore the possibility of removing the Parks and Recreation Department from total government control and have it run more like the Lafayette Economic Development Authority or the library system. Durel also mentioned Baton Rouge’s parks and recreations organization, BREC, which is run by its own commission with its own dedicated tax revenues, as a model to explore.
Berthelot will begin organizing the committee over the next two weeks and hopes to begin holding meetings in April. In a press release this morning, Berthelot says, “I’m looking forward to working with other members of our community to research best practices around the country, including BREC, which is just down the interstate from us, but is certainly an example of the type of model we want to explore. I have an excellent grasp of what President Durel wants this committee to accomplish, and as he says often ‘we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel.’ Rather, let’s do our homework, see what else is out there, and see if one of those models, or maybe a combination of those models, would be a good fit for Lafayette or not.”
Berthelot, who has served as Durel’s assistant for the last four years, previously worked as Youth Market Manager at Coca-Cola. He also serves on several local boards and commissions, including United Way of Acadiana, Leadership Institute of Acadiana, Faith House and the Junior League.