Lafayette Council gets suit settlement

City buses depart from the Rosa Parks Transportation Center on Tuesday afternoon. The Greyhound bus station, currently located on Lee Avenue, eventually will move into the center after securing an agreement with the City-Parish Council on Tuesday.
City buses depart from the Rosa Parks Transportation Center on Tuesday afternoon. The Greyhound bus station, currently located on Lee Avenue, eventually will move into the center after securing an agreement with the City-Parish Council on Tuesday.

New police precinct to open; Greyhound station will move

LAFAYETTE — A new police precinct on Moss Street could be open before the end of the year on a site originally planned for a Greyhound bus station, city-parish officials said.

The City-Parish Council on Tuesday introduced a settlement in a lawsuit filed by Greyhound over the council’s move to scuttle the bus company’s planned move from downtown to Moss and Matthieu streets.

The settlement calls for the city to buy the Moss Street location from Greyhound and offer the company free rent at the city’s Rosa Parks Transportation Center downtown — bringing in a tenant that the city had unsuccessfully sought a few years ago.

Council Chairman Kenneth Boudreaux said the Moss Street site has been tagged for a police precinct and he expects work to move briskly if the settlement is approved by the council when it comes up for a final vote on Oct. 4.

“I would like to see something possibly before the end of the year,” he said. “Worst-case scenario, early next year.”

Boudreaux, who represents the area, said no firm decision has been made on whether the city would renovate the old IberiaBank building at the Moss Street site or build anew.

Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said that a new precinct could possibly be housed in modular buildings, and the city already has a preliminary design.

The Police Department has long been looking to establish a new precinct in the area, Craft said.

The proposed settlement also calls on city-parish government to renovate about 1,775 square feet of space at the downtown Rosa Parks Transportation Center for Greyhound, allowing the bus company to move from its current location on Lee Avenue.

Greyhound will move into the depot section of the Rosa Parks center along the train tracks, City-Parish Director of Traffic and Transportation Tony Tramel said.

Lafayette’s municipal bus service operates out of the same general area.

Tramel had no specific timeline for when Greyhound would move into the new space, but he said the needed renovations are easy and could be done quickly.

The proposed settlement would cover the $355,000 that Greyhound paid for the Moss Street property and $185,094 the company spent on improvements there.

Half of the total $540,094 would be paid in cash to Greyhound when city-parish government buys the Moss Street property and the other half would go toward a credit for 20 years worth of lease payments at the Rosa Parks center.

The settlement requires city-parish government to pay the cost of converting the space at Rosa Parks for the Greyhound station, with a $30,000 cap on renovation expenses.

The proposed settlement also gives city-parish government the first shot at purchasing the property where the current Greyhound station is located on Lee Avenue downtown.

City-Parish President Joey Durel has said there are no plans for the Lee Avenue site but having first right of refusal on the property will give the city some control over any new development in that area of downtown.

The settlement would end a lawsuit that began in 2008.

Greyhound purchased the Moss Street location in 2007 and planned to renovate the old bank building for a new bus station that was closer to Interstate 49 and Interstate 10.

The purchase was contingent on a zoning change that the City-Parish Council approved in 2007 to allow a bus station to locate in the area — a decision that was unpopular with some residents and businesses owners in the area who worried about increased traffic and noise.

In 2008, a council made up of mostly newly elected members revisited the 2007 zoning change and reversed it, blocking the bus company’s planned move.