Lafayette residents trickled into the Horse Farm Saturday for an unveiling of the Comprehensive Plan vision statement, watching a video of members of the Citizens Advisory Committee read the statement — it was also posted on large foam boards beneath a tent — noshing on treats from Logan Farms and offering their own input in the form of sticky notes and stickers marking their favorite aspects of the vision statement, which is written from the perspective of a future Lafayette that has realized the plan and is reaping its benefits.
Broken into three facets devoted to population, the community and the economy, the vision statement is an outgrowth of community forums and “meetings in a box” held during the spring. And here it is:
In 2035, Lafayette is one of the nation’s most exceptional communities, renowned for its rich Cajun and Creole heritage, its creative scene and culture of innovation, and its authentic joie de vivre. Fueled by its desirable quality of life, its highly educated workforce and the community’s entrepreneurial spirit, Lafayette has attracted substantial investment and growth. This growth has been managed and absorbed in a manner that allowed Lafayette to retain its small town neighborliness and unique way of life.
The Lafayette Comprehensive Plan has galvanized the community and has guided our political leadership in their decision making, keeping us on track and making steady progress toward realizing our Vision. Through a bold collaboration and an on-going conversation among our engaged citizenry and our local government and institutional partners, we have realized our Vision by leveraging our assets, correcting shortcomings and balancing our priorities for what makes our community outstanding.
Our People: A Vibrant Culture of Creativity, Innovation and Compassion
• We remain a caring community of families, friends and neighbors who bring a can-do attitude toward bettering the community through volunteer and faith-based initiatives.
• We are a national model for community-supported investments in information technology, health innovation and green infrastructure.
• We have a vibrant cultural scene that celebrates and treasures its local artists and performers, its many venues (museums, Cajundome, Parc Internationale, Acadiana Center for the Arts), and our many festivals and celebrations.
• We are a healthy, family-friendly community who sees our youth as our most valuable asset: one worthy of investment in quality education and school facilities, recreation, healthcare, opportunities for civic engagement and a diverse array of challenging local employment choices.
• Our retirees make up an important and valued share of the population as natives remain in the community, drawn –as are non-natives– by the rich culture, and opportunities for an active and engaged senior lifestyle.
Our Community: Its Character, Form and Function
• Mobility has been enhanced with improved road network efficiency and connectivity, expanded transit choices and bicycle and pedestrian friendly streets.
• We have raised the bar of expectations for community aesthetics and development quality, applied through innovative development standards and incentives, and revitalization and beautification initiatives.
• We have updated and streamlined our codes and regulatory approval processes to become more transparent, predictable and user-friendly.
• We have managed growth and development in a manner that conserves land and natural resources, is fiscally sound, and respectful of private property rights.
• We are a community of safe neighborhoods that provide expanded housing and lifestyle choices among diverse urban, suburban and rural settings.
• Downtown Lafayette is activated with new development of housing, retail and entertainment, supporting day and night-time activity and a true urban lifestyle –one with a distinct flavor of Acadiana.
• Our expanded network of open spaces, parks and greenways and trails provide quality recreational opportunities, enhancing both quality of life and property values, while promoting healthful outdoor activity.
• We recognize the value of our precious natural resources through initiatives to protect and promote public enjoyment of the Horse Farm, the Vermilion River and our bayou ecosystems.
• We have increased the effectiveness of local governance through improved operational efficiencies and bold initiatives that address Parish-wide issues and challenges, while ensuring that each municipality has an appropriate level of control over strictly local matters.
Our Economy: The Prosperity of our People
• We are home to major corporate employers, attracted by our highly educated and motivated workforce, our information technology infrastructure and our unique quality of life.
• We are home to locally-grown entrepreneurs and small businesses that proudly retain a progressive adaptation of the “wildcatter” attitude of independence and drive to succeed through determination, creativity and innovation.
• We have leveraged the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and our medical institutions to become a leading center for R&D, technology and health innovation.
• We have mobilized as a community in taking proactive measures to address pockets of poverty and crime by expanding opportunities for all to engage in civic affairs and to share in Lafayette’s prosperity.
• We have improved our workforce readiness with partnerships to link educational curricula among our high schools, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and our technical and community colleges, to the skills needed by local businesses.
• We are business-friendly with fair and transparent codes and regulations, and incentives and capital improvement initiatives designed to attract and guide desired private investment and development.
• We have reversed blight and obsolescence with targeted initiatives to restore, revitalize and rebuild along older highway corridors, nodes and interstate gateways into the community.