Downtown Neighborhood Development - KLFY News 10

Downtown Neighborhood Development

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Downtown Lafayette as we know it today began as a project back in the 1990's called "Streetscape".The focus was on reviving the area with heavy emphasis on business development.

But what about the people who call the downtown area home. Well, that's exactly what one public organization is thinking and by transforming the neighborhood they hope they can make downtown Lafayette the place to be.

"Why should we have any area of our city not performing at the highest level possible. So we're fine tuning it to do that," says Steve Oubre with Architects Southwest.

It's a problem of modern city creation. A suburban culture, expand outward and build massive developments outside of town. But the Lafayette Public Trust and Finance Authority is looking to liven up the center of the city.

"The goal would be to create a more dynamic living community," explains Oubre.

Monday started a series of public meetings focused on developing the La Place neighborhood, historically known as the Mills Addition. It contains a large amount land ordered by University, Congress and rail road tracks.

"It's an ability for the city to improve an area that's already built," says Oubre.

Oubre is leading the project. His job is to turn property owned by the finance authority into multi purpose buildings. From spaces to rent and own, to grocery stores and schools, with the goal of walkability and green spaces. With the downtown area as the main attraction.

"We've worked for three years to have a master place for this same neighborhood, and it just excites me," says Giselle Sonnier-Menard.

Sonnier-Menard has owned property in the neighborhood for years, and is the neighborhood association chairperson.

She was pleased that public input was desired.

Sonnier-Menard says, "it's going to impact the lives of us who live, work, and own property here."

Sonnier-Menards excitement and intrigue into the project was shared by most in attendance, but a lot of planning still has to take place.

The hopes of the developer is to impact the area and attract anyone from any walk of life thus creating a well rounded community.

"There's a feeling like there's a way to make this work, but I'm sure there's a lot of concern of how real this can be," says Oubre.

This was the first of three public meetings with Architects Southwest hosted by the Lafayette Public Trust and Finance Authority.

The next two will be over the next two days...at the Rosa Parks Transportation Center.

Doug MacDiarmid

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