City-Parish President Joey Durel was joined Feb. 2 by UL President Dr. Joe Savoie for his annual State of the Parish address at the Cajundome Convention Center. The State of the Parish address kicked off The Independent Weekly’s 2010 Lecture Series, sponsored each year by IberiaBank. Joining forces for the first time this year, the two presidents laid out a vision of Lafayette’s economic future that hinges on shared goals of the city-parish and the university.
Durel touted Lafayette’s growing nationwide reputation as a center of innovation. City-parish government, he pointed out, has been invited to be part of a panel discussion at the upcoming U.S. Chamber of Commerce convention in Washington, D.C., to discuss such projects as LUS Fiber.
Early in the presentation Durel praised the resiliency of the Lafayette economy, which enjoys an unemployment rate (5.5 percent) well below the state average (7.5 percent) and far below the national average (10 percent), with a caveat: “There is no denying that the economic plight of the country has affected Lafayette. Our sales taxes continue to decline, and if there isn’t a leveling off in the next few months, we will be forced to make some difficult decisions as it relates to cutting our budget.”
Durel also mentioned new initiatives related to LUS’ fiber to the home project, including an event April 20-22, FiberFête, during which technology experts from around the country will be in Lafayette to discuss and plan the city’s technological future. “I’m committed to seeing Lafayette build on what’s already great about our city and our parish by us becoming a leader in driving fiber-powered 21st century innovation,” he said.
Overall, the joint presentation was short on timetables and funding mechanisms for their vision for Lafayette’s future development, but long on cooperative-endeavor ideas for applying smart growth principles to UL-owned land in the heart of Lafayette. “It is important to recognize that the essential economic advantage of cities flows from their abilities to promote and encourage interactions among people,” Savoie told the sold-out lunch crowd. “Cities work best and are most successful economically when they enable easy interaction among people.”
Among the ideas mentioned:
• A performing arts center/entertainment complex at the site currently occupied by Blackham Coliseum
• Commercial development on Congress Street across from Cajun Field in the University Research Park that would include hotels, restaurants, shops, retail and residential spaces
• Transformation of the UL horse farm on Johnston Street into a passive, public park
• Conversion of Johnston Street into a boulevard
• Light rail transportation within the city
“All of this and much more will be addressed through a comprehensive plan,” Durel said in closing.
|Sterling LeJeune, Dud Lastrapes and Andrew Perrin||Daryl Byrd and Richard Chappuis|
|State Reps. Fred Mills and Page Cortez||Ron Lee, Bob Barras, Brad Hamman and Mike Skinner|
|Stanley Blackstone, Pete Yuan and Kurt Carleton||Joey Durel and Joe Savoie|
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has decided to end its traditional Independence Day spectacular known as Red White & Boom.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The must have pieces this season
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
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Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
Most experts say short-term interest rates will be unchanged through 2014, but long-term rates are inching up.
Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.