In the 1950s, Maurice Heymann had a vision for Lafayette to be a hub for the oil economy. This vision became the Oil Center.
Half a century late, the Oil Center Association is working to revitalize that same area.
“Currently we are seeing a lot more activity happening in the Oil Center. It’s a lot of locally owned shops and stores that have come up,” said Kirk Taylor, president of the Oil Center Association.
Taylor says it’s those local businesses that are working to help revitalize the Oil Center.
The Center’s current Azalea Project was made possible by legacy family, Taylor said.
“They were all very gracious with raising this amount of money to rebrand College Boulevard,” he said.
The Azalea Project is just the beginning of a strategic master plan for the redevelopment of the Oil Center. The plan includes a three to five story mixed use building, a public square and more parking.
“This is something that’s gonna make it walkable and make it an exciting place to be,” the association president said. “We want to make sure we are staying ahead of the curve.”
Taylor says they are working to blend the Oil Center with downtown to make the two areas cohesive.
The Oil Center itself has recently been named a cultural district and an opportunity zone.
“By using those two vessels, the cultural district and the opportunity zone you have some twinning capabilities that can really spark a lot of interest,” Taylor said.
“We are excited to get the word out in the community and get people coming and building in the oil center to make it even better.”
This year the Oil Center will be celebrating with a Christmas event called For the Love of Art and Chocolate to celebrate their new cultural district designation.