The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to give its blessing to the vision of turning 100 acres of rolling beauty into a passive park that Lafayette and its neighboring communities will enjoy for generations to come.

First conceived in October 2005 by the Save the Horse Farm group, which passionately fought a questionable deal to sell the land for commercial development, the plan to convert the Johnston Street acreage to a community park picked up steam within months when City-Parish President Joey Durel got behind the effort and again when Joe Savoie came in as university president in mid-2008.

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.

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.

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