LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) Some residents in Lafayette want the city to find a different location for a new fire station saying there were promised 25 years ago to have the site remain as a green space.
The city-parish government has made a proposal to build the new station at Eastland Drive and Camelia Blvd to replace the station at Montrose and Johnston Street.
“Fire station number 6, where it’s located right now it’s not big enough, and the property is not large enough to build what we need to build going forward,” Fire Chief Robert Benoit said,
He adds the station has outlived its usefulness and can only hold one truck.
George Parker is one of the residents not in favor of the development coming for four reasons. He says:
- The government promised that the area would remain a green space.
- There’s a resolution 065-97 that maintains that the green space would protect the integrity of the neighborhood.
- There are many other locations especially across the River, all in the area where that commercial and residential growth is already taking place.
- Concerned about this fire station if it is built would open the door for future development along that corridor which is against what they originally told homeowners who were basically forced out of their homes to build this corridor.
“They build it to be a green belt green space, a linear park. They stated that it would be used for private use. Biking, walking, exercising, walking your dog. Having a picnic. However, they wanted it to be used. That it would be a beautification project for Lafayette, and it is. It’s a wonderful drive; let’s not cover it up with concrete,” He said. “Preserve the green space. That’s what it was built for. Let our green space remain green space and find an alternative location.”
Benoit said they tried to rebuild fire station number 6, however he says they would have to buy additional properties in the area to build what they need.
“We know that we can only purchase property at the appraisal value, and that doesn’t mean that people will give us that property at the appraisal value.”
He said the city already owns property on Camellia Blvd.
News 10 reached out to the city council about the documents of the promise to keep the proposed site a green space and Jeremy Swiney the Senior Administration to Parish and City Council said they have not yet located any documents regarding that promise.
Benoit said everybody against the new site would need to produce those documents.
“We had legal look at it. We had public works go back and look at all the documents concerning transaction with the homeowners that goes back to city parish president Walter Comeaux, but we haven’t been able to find any documents that say that it can’t be used for a fire station and that’s why we’re in the process of putting that station there,” he said.
Parker said he is not opposed to growth or the fire station and thanks all the brave firemen and women for their services.
“It’s just important that the government be held to what they said that they would do. Whether it’s in writing or not the council at that time promise that this would remain green belt that they called it at the time or a linear park. That’s what we want,” he said. “We want them to stand by their word at the time and that word should not change from one administration to the other. The government is the government. When they make this promise that promise should be kept for other administration and generations to come so that generations of the future will be able to appreciate that beautiful corridor that they built.”
Contact the fire department if you have any questions or concerns at 337-291-8700.