Downtown Opelousas receives award for development plan

St. Landry Parish

OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — The Opelousas Downtown Development District Master Plan, a partnership between the Opelousas Downtown Development District and the City of Opelousas, has received the 2021 Planning Excellence Award by the American Planning Association’s Louisiana chapter. 

Taylor Lormand, a St. Landry Parish Economic Development Specialist, said in a press release that the plan has been in development with community input in conjunction with the Center for Planning Excellence consulting team for the last two years.

The plan addresses a wide variety of issues and top challenges, including housing and economic diversification, public safety, and parks and recreation in a manner that will provide residents equitable access to services, recreation, and jobs.

Each year, American Planning Association Louisiana Chapter recognizes the achievements of agencies, companies, groups, and individuals “as they strive for excellence in the planning profession.”

Opelousas Mayor Julius Alsandor said the plan builds on the momentum that Opelousas is already seeing within the community.

“We are one of Louisiana’s most historic towns and have witnessed how downtowns like ours can be transformed with good planning and strong partnerships,” Alsandor said. “This plan for our community’s future will ensure Opelousas regains its rightful place among the top downtown areas in not only our region, but the entire state and southern U.S. We stand on our commitment of a well-planned, resilient and livable city for current and future residents for years to come.”

The plan is commended by the American Planning Association for “excellent plans, processes, implementation of plans or programs, education efforts and advocacy work.

“This Master Plan was a huge accomplishment for the board and the city,” said Lena Charles, president of the Opelousas Downtown Development District board.

St. Landry economic development director Bill Rodier, called the plan “a milestone in the progress of the ODDD” and predicted that it “will be a cornerstone blueprint for the future growth of the core of Opelousas for many years to come. We are very grateful for the hard work of all the partners involved in this initiative, as well as the community’s input on their future dreams for downtown,” he said.

The master plan was officially adopted by the Opelousas City Council on August 10, 2021.

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