LAFAYETTE — Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel said he hopes to sign papers this summer that will formally transfer the former Louisiana-Lafayette Equine Center, nicknamed the Horse Farm, to Lafayette Consolidated Government to be converted into a public park.
Durel said university leaders and government officials have worked around legal obstacles that have stalled the project for about a year.
“All of the legal impediments are done now,” Durel said. “We’re thinking we could have the papers signed and the land turned over by mid-summer.”
Durel said he’s also ramped up discussions with the Community Foundation of Acadiana, which will ultimately be responsible for the Horse Farm’s construction and maintenance after signing a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with LCG.
The property will be converted into a passive park, which will emphasize biking and hiking trails rather than baseball fields and basketball courts.
LCG will spend as much as $6 million to buy the Horse Farm from UL. In April 2011, the City-Parish Council approved issuing $6 million in certificates of indebtedness to make the purchase.
UL officials originally decided to sell the 100 acres of land in order to buy property closer to its main campus. The state government then approved proposals allowing the university to sell the farm, which hasn’t been used as such since the late ’90s.
When the council budgeted the purchase more than a year ago, Lorrie Toups, LCG’s chief financial officer, said certificates of indebtedness are comparable to bonds but are a less expensive means to the same end.
Toups said although LCG has budgeted $500,000 annually for the next five years — as far as budget numbers are planned — to pay off part of the Horse Farm buy, that amount could increase to $560,000 annually depending on fluctuating interest rates.