Seven years of perseverance paid off Tuesday, as the City-Parish Council voted 7-2 to transform the 100-acre Horse Farm into a community park.
It was almost seven years ago that The Independent broke the story about a suspect land swap involving UL's Horse Farm on Johnston Street. It seems like a lifetime.
With seven wise men voting in favor of the deal Tuesday — I'm pretty sure you can figure out which two councilmen voted against it — the vision to turn 100 acres of rolling beauty into a passive park crossed its final hurdle.
First conceived in October 2005 by the Save the Horse Farm group, which passionately fought a dubious deal that would have turned the Johnston Street acreage into a commercial development, the central park plan picked up steam within months when City-Parish President Joey Durel got behind the effort. The deal was all but sealed when community-minded Joe Savoie came in as university president in mid-2008.
"This is a much, much bigger transaction than just buying the horse farm, although that by itself is plenty big enough for what it’s going to do for our community," Durel told the council Tuesday afternoon. “It’s a win on many, many, many levels and something I think is very critical as we compete in this world today for jobs,” he continued. “It fits in with our comprehensive plan that we’re working on, and the university’s comprehensive plan.”
Lafayette Consolidated Government has already issued and sold $6 million in certificates of indebtedness to purchase the Horse Farm from the university. The funding mechanism was approved by the council last year. The deal is also a partial land swap, with LCG turning over Youth Park, located behind the Johnston Street fire station near UL's campus, to the university. The horse farm appraised for $6.61 million and Youth Park for $808,000. UL plans to use proceeds from the sale to expand its campus, quite possibly to make a down payment on old Lourdes campus.
The proposed ordinance requires that LCG develop the property as a passive park — no basketball, baseball or soccer fields — within 10 years or return it to UL. The Community Foundation is expected to play a key role in bringing the project to fruition, but the specifics of that role have not yet been defined and/or disclosed.
Read the ordinance up for final approval here.
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.
“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.
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.
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 Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.