Lafayette Central Park Inc. announced Friday morning that a team of designers, architects, ecologists and engineers comprising firms and independent contractors from Austin, Texas, and Lafayette has been awarded the contract to design the Horse Farm property into a central park for the city of Lafayette.

Here’s the press release announcing the winners:
Lafayette Central Park, Inc. (LCP) has moved one step closer to Lafayette’s realization of a world class central park located at the former Horse Farm. This week, after an extensive nationwide search, a master planner has been chosen to guide the next phase of the park development.

Design Workshop (designworkshop.com) out of Austin, Texas was chosen as the Master Planning team based on their high levels of experience in landscape architecture, urban design and strategic services to clients in North America and throughout the world. The Design Workshop team is made up of both local and national firms. Design Workshop’s Principal-in-Charge, Kurt Culbertson, hails from Louisiana and maintains close connections to his alma mater, LSU, and his roots. ETM Associates represents the best of the best of national experts in park operations and maintenance. Meanwhile, Mader Engineering, Ray Brassieur, Bill Fontenot, and Franklin Associates are not only locals to Lafayette and the state of Louisiana, but offer an amazing array of experiences and skills. Locals make up 60% of the team, most of whom are in Lafayette, and several of the team members in the Austin office of Design Workshop are either from Louisiana or went to school here.

Design Workshop is committed to creating special places that meet today’s needs and that are sustainable environments for all time making them the right choice for Lafayette and the Horse Farm legacy. In meeting the recreational needs of neighborhoods, preserving unique landscapes, memorializing historic sites or simply protecting the land, Design Workshop has crafted exceptional parks and open spaces for people around the world. They are committed to protecting and restoring natural environments, conserving ecosystems, redeveloping abandoned, idled or under-utilized properties and creating beautiful parks for residents and visitors. Their experience allows them to balance environmental principles, the needs of local communities and economic realities in order to turn the most challenging sites into vibrant places. They are accustomed to creating places that are not only appropriate, compelling and sustainable but which appeal to the heart.  In the coming weeks, the Design Workshop team will be reaching out to the community through community forums to get feedback and input from the community about their vision for the park’s future.  

Lenny Lemoine, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Lafayette Central Park, said, “We went to great lengths to make this selection process as thorough as possible, because we had so many great teams submit proposals.  In the end, it really speaks to the quality of Design Workshop’s portfolio and their approach to our project that they were the firm that was consistently at top of our rankings during each step of the decision making process.”

Planning, Design and Construction Committee Chairman Gregg Gothreaux had similar sentiments, adding, “I read every submission cover to cover, heard every presentation, interview, and all of the points brought up in our discussions. We had some world-class talent competing for this job and we feel great about our decision to trust the Design Workshop team with this project. Their creativity, experience, and approach is just what we were looking for to make this happen. We are also pleased that they pulled in great team members from both Lafayette and Baton Rouge to ensure that our cultural context is considered throughout the entire process.”

The park at the Horse Farm has also announced the launch [of its] website, www.LafayetteCentralPark.org, which will be utilized throughout the planning process to keep members of the community informed, educated and engaged in the park development process. In the coming weeks, the site will add a calendar of events for community forums where the public can share their vision for the park, information on how to volunteer and get involved in the park development process and a section dedicated to receiving input and feedback from the public.  

A featured addition to the website under the topic “Be Inspired” is a video featuring interviews with some notable community figures along with everyday citizens of Lafayette who share their sentiments about the Horse Farm.  The video will be put to use in a variety of ways. Director of Planning and Development E.B. Brooks said of the video, “We are getting ready to embark on a journey throughout Lafayette where we will meet with as many civic groups and organizations of all sizes and members of the public where we will share this inspiring video, speak about the process of the park development, seek feedback and answer questions. I am very pleased that everyone will have an opportunity to play a role in the future of the park at the Horse Farm through this video and these forums. The excitement is contagious and I know everyone will ‘Be Inspired’ to take part in the process.”

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