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As Lafayette Parish embarks on its first-ever comprehensive land use plan, The Independent Weekly Lecture Series presents one of the world’s top experts on urban issues for the sixth annual Smart Growth Lecture. Keynote speaker will be Carol Coletta, president and CEO of CEOs for Cities and host/producer of the nationally syndicated public radio show Smart City. “We’ve had Carol on our ‘wish list’ for many years,” says Ind Co-Publisher Cherry Fisher May. “The timing for her message couldn’t be better. Her formula is simple: courage plus creativity and connectivity yields success. Lafayette’s strength is creativity, and we are making progress on connectivity. As we develop a blueprint for growth, the courage part may be the toughest for us.”

Carol’s impressive résumé begins in Memphis, where she was president of the urban design consulting firm Coletta & Company. She later served as executive director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the American Architectural Foundation. Additionally, she is a former Knight Fellow in Community Building at the University of Miami School of Architecture, received the Lambda Alpha International 2009 International Journalism Award, was named one of the world’s 50 most important urban experts by a leading European think tank and was recognized last year as one of the top 50 urban thinkers of all time by readers of PLANetizen.com.

Presenting sponsor for the lecture series is IberiaBank. Van Eaton & Romero Real Estate has been a supporting sponsor for the Smart Growth Lecture each year, and CEO Bill Bacqué says the company is committed to a continuing role in the discussion about Lafayette’s growth. “We are supportive of both the economic and physical expansion of Acadiana,” says Bacqué. “We are also mindful of our responsibility to be wise stewards in both the preservation and expansion of all things that make living here so wonderful. That only underscores the importance of having this continuing dialogue.”

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VER teams up again this year with two other professional firms that share its prestigious address in Camellia Towers near River Ranch, Allen & Gooch law firm and Darnall, Sikes, Gardes & Frederick’s accounting and wealth management divisions. “We’re pleased to join our colleagues in continued support of enlightened community dialogue regarding Lafayette’s growth and future development,” says founding partner Clayton Darnall. “Our firm celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, and we are always looking forward.”

Robert Daigle, developer of mixed-use developments River Ranch in Lafayette and Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville, is a returning sponsor as well. “The continued success of our traditional neighborhood developments is based on many of the key tenets of Smart Growth,” notes Daigle. “We support the idea of livable communities at the ground level, literally.” And because good planning makes for communities attractive for business development, Lafayette Economic Development Authority CEO Gregg Gothreaux says LEDA also has a stake in the discussion. “Lafayette has a tradition of being a close-knit community, and LEDA seeks to enhance that feeling with our business retention and attraction efforts,” he says. “Carol has first-hand insight into building the cities of tomorrow. She knows what works and what doesn’t, and she will undoubtedly provide inspiration and guidance as Lafayette moves into the next decade.”

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The luncheon/lecture event will be Thursday, April 1, at 11:45 a.m. at The City Club in River Ranch. Tickets are $40 per person or $350 for a table of eight. Additional information, including a ticket order form, is available online at www.theind.com, or contact Kathy Lowry: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. via e-mail or (337) 769-8603 by phone.

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