Lafayette eyes old bus station for downtown police precinct

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Plans are under way to convert the former Greyhound bus station in downtown Lafayette into a police precinct.
Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Plans are under way to convert the former Greyhound bus station in downtown Lafayette into a police precinct.

The old Greyhound bus station on Lee Avenue is being eyed for a possible downtown police precinct.

The Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority on Thursday approved purchasing the bus station from Greyhound for $157,000 and is in early talks with city-parish government to use the building for a new downtown police precinct, said LPTFA Chairman John Arceneaux.

“We think it’s a great opportunity to do something with that building,” he said.

The LPTFA is a self-supporting public authority that makes money through investments and financing and uses the proceeds to support public projects.

The old Greyhound station had been vacant since November, when the bus company moved its Lafayette terminal into city-parish government’s Rosa Parks Transportation Center nearby.

City-Parish Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley said there are no imminent plans and no money set aside for the downtown precinct, but the purchase of the property likely will spur movement on the project.

“I would anticipate there would be discussions ensuing fairly quickly,” he said. “... This paves the way for that.”

The Lafayette Police Department has maintained a special downtown detail for several years, with a beefed-up presence on weekend nights when large crowds descend on bars along Jefferson Street.

But the department has not had a dedicated precinct office in the area, with the exception of a storefront along Jefferson Street that was used briefly and had limited hours.

The old Greyhound station was appraised at $340,000, more than twice what the LPTFA is paying, said LPTFA attorney Richard Becker.

The downtown police precinct is not a sure thing, but Arceneaux said there are no alternative plans for the building at this time.