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.
The City-Parish Council on Tuesday will be asked to sign off on an agreement between UL Lafayette and Lafayette Consolidated Government that would expand mass transit opportunities for UL students by adding five additional buses to its shuttle run between Cajun Field and campus.
Louisiana's high school seniors are making increased strides on Advanced Placement exams.
The Alabama game is sold out but tickets for all other homes games can be purchased online at www.LSUtix.net.
Among the one-percenters nationally, Louisiana's fattest cat is a relative pauper.
The Republican governor sent a letter Thursday to the president, saying placement of the children in Louisiana could have "potential negative ramifications."
Many laws are minor, though some impact health care options, change educational programs and reach into people's everyday activities.
Responding to Tuesday’s federal appeals court decision to save Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic, Esquire magazine profiles the unique story behind one of the doctors working at the clinic in Jackson.
In reacting to the recently resurrected allegations of sexual abuse among local clergy, is the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette maintaining its old stance of protecting their own?
Louisiana's annual state sales tax holiday is Friday and Saturday.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
NJ lady beats Donald Trump; Israel calls up more troops; border hearings accelerated and more national and international news for Thursday, July 31, 2014.
State Rep. Lenar Whitney — one of a handful of Republican candidates vying for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional district — has been described by Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman as one of the most “frightening or fact-averse candidate[s]” he’s ever met following her reaction to an interview last week.
Mid-August hearing dates have been set for dueling lawsuits over Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards in public schools.
An investigation into the last-minute passage of a pension hike for the state police superintendent continues, despite Col. Mike Edmonson's decision not to accept the increase.
Safety Jairus Byrd practiced with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday for the first time since his signing in March.
Sentencing has been delayed for a businessman who provided key testimony in the corruption case that resulted in the conviction of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
The spectre of priest sex abuse has returned to haunt the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette following the recent release of an investigative report by Minnesota Public Radio, revealing new allegations of another child predator hiding behind the clerical collar.
The sponsor of a Louisiana law that requires doctors that perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges doesn't believe the provision is in jeopardy after a federal appeals court struck down a similar Mississippi law.
Louisiana's state school board has jumped into a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal that accuses the governor of illegally meddling in education policy through his efforts to block Common Core education standards.
Here's how one nationally recognized conservative political pundit reacted upon hearing the news Monday that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was leaning toward an endorsement of Louisiana’s lone Democrat senator.
With the qualifying deadline for Lafayette Parish School Board elections quickly approaching, a series of candidate forums have been announced by the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council.
The investigation and potential prosecution of the man charged in the recent hit-and-run death of a Youngsville cyclist won’t happen overnight, according to local law enforcement officials.
Louisiana's state school board is holding a special meeting to consider whether to sue Gov. Bobby Jindal in an ongoing dispute over the Common Core education standards.
A bipartisan congressional deal to help improve veterans' health care access includes approval for new veterans clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles.
It wouldn’t be a first, however, as the Chamber has thrown money behind Landrieu before.