The Lafayette City-Parish Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to endorse the Joie De Vivre affordable housing development being sponsored by Acadiana Outreach Center. The proposed development is to be centered at West Second and South Pierce streets, across Congress from downtown's IberiaBank tower, in the historic Mills Addition subdivision. The majority of the funding for the development is contingent upon the successful application of Federal Housing Administration tax credits. Greg Gachassin of the The Cartesian Group, the lead consultant on the project, says his group plans to submit its tax credit application next Friday. The tax credits will be awarded in December.
Plans for the project were first presented to the public in May. Gachassin says those plans have since been adjusted based on funding limitations, some unsuccessful property acquisitions and feedback from area residents. The total price tag for the project has dropped from approximately $25 million to $16.5 million. Gachassin says the number of apartments in the complex also has been reduced from 118 to 72, additional parking has been added, and some design features have changed. "We really changed the elevations, the looks, the facade of the development," he says. "We added some brick into it. It's not as modern a design as originally proposed. And that was based on feedback from people in the community who felt it was too modern a design and needed to be toned down a little bit."
Planners have kept the new designs under wraps until after Joie De Vivre makes its tax credit application, which is a competitive process. Gachassin says the new plans will likely be unveiled at a public meeting sometime next month. The tax credit application obligates Joie De Vivre to rent affordable units to tenants at or below 60 percent of Lafayette's annual Area Median Income of $57,500. In order to score additional points, the application also states Joie De Vivre will cater to individuals with children — requiring that 20 percent of tenants have a child living with them. For more on Joie De Vivre, and some of the controversy it has sparked among Mills Addition residents, read The Independent's May cover story, "A Fighting Chance."
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DEC 8 - Maybe that wasn't such a good idea, after all. This post on the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association's site says we're looking at oil prices that are tanking because there's so much oil coming out of the Gulf. Some are even predicting a glut. What's likely to be the result? Lower gas prices, higher refinery profits, and more pressure on the feds to loosen export restrictions.
DEC 8 Here's the latest from blogger Robert Mann, and it's on one of his favorite topics: Bobby Jindal. He's taking a look at Jindal's record and his current maneuvering, which of course is a ploy to position him for a run for the White House. "America Next," Jindal's current big idea, is just as vague about what it is proposing as Jindal usually is, Mann says. And it won't protect him from his "unimaginative record," as Mann describes it.
DEC 8 - Don't know what that is? Then run on over to LaPolitics and read this post by Jeremy Alford, which serves as a history lesson about the famed tonic and it's purveyor, Dudley LeBlanc. It's really a fascinating story and Alford's description of Dudley as an "icon of Louisiana politics and culture" is not an exaggeration.
DEC 8 In this editorial, the Picayune again urges Gov. Jindal to take the Medicaid money. But the piece's exhortation that Jindal "be sensible" is a little misplaced, isn't it? Because Jindal's not being stupid -- well, maybe he is -- but he's following orders from people he believes can get him into the White House. This editorial is engaging in the argument that Jindal is publicly making, without acknowledging what his true motivations are. Somebody send these guys a clue.
DEC 8 Columnist Mark Ballard is writing about the impact of Vance McAllister's defeat of Neil Riser in this post. He starts out talking about how McAllister's more reasonable approach was more attractive to voters than was Riser's hard-line (tea-party-ish) rants. Dan Claitor, a state lege from BR who is expected to run for Congress soon, expressed it best when he said voters aren't looking for candidates who are "throwing temper tantrums when they can't get their way."
DEC 8 It's always gratifying when a Louisiana son makes international headlines. And our son, David "former KKK grand poobah" Duke is back in the news, making us all proud. This (UK) Telegraph story, unearthed by the Dead Pelican, tells us that Duke has been expelled from Italy but is trying to return. The Italians say he is trying to "establish a pan-European, extremist neo-Nazi group in northern Italy." Huh. You don't say.
DEC 9 This is a kind of puzzling post from columnist Jim Beam, in which he discusses a recent appearance by former Gov. Edwin Edwards in Lake Charles. He said he's surprised by EWE's "grasp of current events." Did Jim never meet Slick Eddie? He's no dummy, and for Beam to assume he is -- well, given he covered the man for 50 years, that's the surprise.
DEC 9 A "suspicious package" shut down part of Zachary Sunday, WAFB tells us in this post. The package, which eventually was "rendered safe" (bomb squad lingo for blown up) was found in a storage unit that someone quit paying on. Other cop gear was found in the unit, so it is possible the thing was a training tool, police say. But they leave out the best part: who bought it? Barry, Jarrod or Darrell?
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