The Louisiana House of Representatives’ Natural Resources and Environment Committee this morning took an important step in the process for authorizing the sale of UL Lafayette’s horse farm acreage to the Community Foundation of Acadiana for development as a passive recreational park. The committee voted 11-2 for Lafayette state Rep. Joel Robideaux’s bill to authorize the president of the UL System to sell the state-owned land to any governmental entity or nonprofit corporation. Anonymous benefactors have offered to gift to the CFA $5.7 million for the purchase of the park if an equal amount can be raised for its development and ongoing maintenance.
Lafayette state Rep. Nancy Landry, who also serves on the committee, spoke in favor of the bill and the plan to convert the acreage to a passive park, a proposal that has garnered widespread support throughout the Acadiana community and also has the backing of the activist group Save the Horse Farm.
The plan was also strongly supported in committee by Bobby Badon of Carencro and Jack Montoucet of Crowley, according to Robideaux. Voting against the bill were Jerry Gisclair of Larose and Sam Little of Bastrop.
Robideaux believes Gisclair and Little may have been swayed by Harold Schoeffler, a local environmentalist/preservationist who attended the committee meeting and questioned the appraised value of the property. The 100-acre tract of undeveloped residential land was valued at $5.7 million in the past year by a state-approved MAI-certified appraiser. In a phone interview with The INDsider yesterday, Schoeffler mistakenly thought the front of the property was zoned commercially. When informed that the entire acreage is zoned for residential use, he still maintained that the university could get more money for the land.
“I’m not opposed to that property being a park,” Schoeffler said, noting that he wants the property to remain in the hands of the university or Lafayette Consolidated Government, rather than a private entity (i.e. the not for profit CFA), and has concerns about who will pay for maintaining it as a public park.
All of those details are still being worked through by the university, the CFA and LCG.
The bill should be taken up by the full House next week. Before it reaches the Senate, Robideaux plans to ask for co-authors and fully expects many more members of the Acadiana delegation to sign on to show their support for preserving the acreage as a central park for Lafayette.
The board hopes to recover all fees paid, plus one-half, along with what could amount to hundreds of thousands in additional penalties.
Oh, the irony... or something like that.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
St. Patty's Day crafts
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.