[Update: LCP board member Pharr tells The IND the selection committee, chaired by LEDA President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux, recommended the six teams that made presentations before the full LCP board Friday. Some selection committee members, along with LCP employees David Calhoun and Elizabeth "EB" Brooks, were also present for the presentations, Pharr says. All of those in attendance had a say in who made the cut to two finalists. Pharr says some due diligence remains before the finalists are confirmed and the remaining four teams are notified that they are no longer in the running. She referred The IND to Gothreaux for the names of the selection committee members. "As soon as they have actually confirmed the two finalists and informed the other four, I will give you an update," she says.]
After a little nudging from The IND (and possibly other media outlets), Lafayette Central Park Inc. has released the names of the six master planning teams its selection committee interviewed Friday. One of the teams will be chosen to engage and gather feedback from the community before setting out to design and transform the 100-acre tract on Johnston Street into a passive park.
There was significant local talent on the teams, which were also well represented by several accomplished state and national architectural/planning, engineering and landscaping firms.
The selection committee has narrowed the teams down to two finalists, with the winning team scheduled to be announced Friday, after the regularly scheduled LCP board of directors meeting. LCP did not immediately respond to The IND's request for the names of the selection committee members and two finalists; LCP initially declined to release the names of the finalists but turned them over Monday morning.
“Unfortunately, because we feel so strongly about protecting the integrity of the process, we made a decision, at this time, to not release the names of the finalists,” LCP board member Allyson Pharr wrote to The IND Thursday. “We want to do all that we can to maintain an objective mindset with regard to each of the finalists and not open the door to either intentional or unintentional efforts of influence in this important decision." Pharr continued: "Maintaining that confidentiality at this time we feel provides the most opportunity for a fair and completely objective decision based solely on the presentations and qualifications of the finalists. While we want to be as transparent as possible, in some instances, to protect the higher mission, we must make these types of decisions. As soon as a firm is chosen and confirms acceptance, we will provide information regarding the six finalists.”
The IND respectfully disagreed with the decision and urged transparency throughout the entire process. While we commend the board for changing course and releasing this morning the names of the six teams it interviewed, it should also make public the names of the two finalists.
In June the Lafayette City-Parish Council voted unanimously in favor of resolution allowing LCP, a private nonprofit organization created through the Community Foundation of Acadiana, 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. LCP is entering into a cooperative endeavor agreement/lease with the city to begin raising money to design and construct the park and create a fund for perpetual maintenance.
City-Parish President Joey Durel has 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.
Earlier this year Durel 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].”
In April LCP contracted with the Urban Land Institute, which helped develop the process for converting the acreage into a park and led to the most recent exercise for selecting a master planner.
Below is the list of prime and subconsultants interviewed Friday.
· Franklin & Associates
· ETM Associates
· Mader Engineering
· Bill Fontenot, Ecologist
· Ray Brassieur, Cultural Expert
· Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects
· Abell+Crozier+Davis Architects
· Eddie Cazayoux, FAIA, Cultural Scripting
Hargreaves Associates/Architects Southwest
· Architects Southwest
· LAND Architecture
· Ronkartz-Oestriecher Engineering
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
· Suzanne Turner Associates
· Stantec Engineering
· Davis Langdon, Cost Estimator
· Dr. Charles Allen, Ecologist
· Spackman Mossop + Michaels Landscape Architects
· Lake | Flato Architects
· Mader Engineering
· Applied Ecological Services
· Project for Public Spaces
· Mader Engineering
· Huval & Associates
· M & E Consulting Inc.
· Sweeney & Associates Inc.