The City-Parish Council on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of resolution that will allow a private nonprofit organization to lease the 100-acre Horse Farm property from the city in order to raise the funds necessary to develop the raw acreage into a public park. Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit created through the Community Foundation of Acadiana, will enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement/lease with the city, at which time it will begin raising money to design and construct the park and create a fund for perpetual maintenance.
City-Parish President Joey Durel estimated that the total cost of the park — both for the initial build-out as well as the long-term maintenance — could be up to $30 million. But Durel also argued that taking the process of developing the park out of the government’s hands and turning it over to a nonprofit comprising more than a dozen representatives of the private sector, is the right thing to do:
"As it relates to fundraising, I believe that one of the first things you think of when you’re talking in terms of getting it out of government and into the private sector is, I believe that there are companies and there are people out there who will give millions of dollars to do something like this for our community. I don’t think they would give millions of dollars to us to do [the government]."
Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux, who was otherwise supportive of the resolution and has backed the Horse Farm process from its inception, expressed some concern about a lack of diversity in Lafayette Central Park Inc. Save for one board member, the 14-member, volunteer board of directors comprising mainly titans of industry in the Hub City along with the two paid employees of the nonprofit are all white.
“I just ask that on this one we jump through hoops, we flip backwards, we do whatever incredible tasks we need to do, to make sure that this truly can be for all of Lafayette and surrounding areas,” Boudreaux commented.
Lafayette Central Park Inc. has contracted with the Urban Land Institute, which will develop the process for converting the 100 acres into a park. The process will involve input from the public. After that, a firm will be hired to take that community input and design the park. And while the council will have some say in the programming phase of the Horse Farm’s development, much of the process after that will be out of the council’s hands.
To read the resolution granting the lease and cooperative endeavor agreement with Lafayette Central Park Inc., click here.
To view discussion of the resolution, which occurs early in the meeting, click here.
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AUG 29 Everyone who cares about Louisiana should take time to peruse this story about coastal loss from Bob Marshall of The Lens. It's not enough to call it a story; it's an interactive experience packed with data and amazing graphics, timelines, history, photos and excellent writing. Set aside some time, because you can't go through this one in a few minutes.
JUN 29 This bizarre story from the Advocate on the shooting of a Baton Rouge television personality reads like the script of a soap opera - but not a good one. The allegations against him include sexual abuse of children, including the alleged shooter, and a sham immigration marriage involving his own daughter. The other side? He was a chaplin for the Sheriff's Office in Baton Rouge and preached in a local church.
AUG 29 Here's a story from CBS News about a killer amoeba found in the water system of St. John the Baptist Parish. The story made all three networks (CBS, ABC, NBC) as well as Fox "News," although they have not yet found out how it is Obama's fault. Seriously, the good news is that so far officials know of no one sickened by the water.
AUG 29 Huffington Post has a blog called Love Letters, which is grandly described as "an anthology of reflections on places the world over." This entry is from LSU Football Coach Les Miles, who, it appears, loves Baton Rouge. (Of course he does; he's a rich straight white man.) And certainly Baton Rouge loves him - unless he loses (ask Curley "Golden Flake" Hallman about that) or leaves (ask Nick Saban).
AUG 29 Blogger Bob Mann comments here upon Governor Bobby Jindal's federal lawsuit about Common Core. Mann calls it a "thinly veiled campaign document" and that might be the nicest thing he says in this post. Most troubling for Jindal and his aspirations, Mann has unearthed what Bobby said just a few years ago when he first decided to shove Common Core down our throats.
AUG 29 Blogger Tom Aswell has several developments here related to the so-called Edmonson amendment. The most entertaining one is possibly Tom's acknowledgement that a State Police official is (allegedly) calling the bloggers covering the story some colorful names. Listen up, cowboy: You really think two veterans like Tom Aswell and CB Forgotston care if you call them idiots?
AUG 29 Gotta love those journalists who write something with the enthusiasm that implies they're the first one to figure something out. Mostly, they're not. This is one of those times; the post on Slate Magazine says that Bobby Jindal's Common Core lawsuit is a political stunt. Well - Duh.
AUG 29 This story by WVLA tells us about a guy who got busted for speeding in Baton Rouge. Who cares? This guy took that infraction to new heights by going 129 miles per hour on Nicholson Drive. Poor fella - he probably has spent so much time sitting in Baton Rouge traffic he just had to cut lose.
AUG 28 As the controversy surrounding the Office of Group Benefits intensifies, blogger Tom Aswell gives us some background on the current problems. The OGB, which handles health insurance for current and retired state employees, is deep in the red since it was privatized by Jindal, and Aswell gives us the skinny: this great plan was designed by ALEC. The company handling it? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana - a longtime member of ALEC.
AUG 28 Blogger CB Forgotston has a concept for a new reality show: the wives of the "Dork Dynasty." That's the name that some troopers have given to State Police Commander Mike Edmonson and his inner circle. The ladies CB has picked for his cast are not just housewives, however, and the connections here are pretty interesting.
AUG 28 Blogger Ian McGibboney is writing about the strife in Ferguson in this post, and articulating what many people down south are saying. There's a fairy tale about how there's tons of racism in the South, but it's all hunky dory up North. (Really? Look again.)
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