If approved, work on former Horse Farm could begin in fall
LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette City-Parish Council is set to vote Tuesday on the master plan for a new park at the 100-acre Horse Farm on Johnston Street, the last formal hurdle before designers dig into the nuts and bolts of the project and begin preparations for construction.
The plan, which emerged from community forums earlier this year, includes playgrounds, ponds, pavilions, picnic areas, trails, gardens, a dog park and tree houses.
Assuming approval by the council on Tuesday, work on the park could begin in the fall and some portions of it could be complete by the end of 2015, said Elizabeth “EB” Brooks, director of planning and design for Lafayette Central Park.
The nonprofit group was formed to oversee development of the park on land owned by city-parish government and is working toward a fundraising goal of $30 million — half of that to build the park and the other half to seed an endowment to cover long-term maintenance and operations.
What gets built there and when will be determined largely by how much money is raised, Brooks said.
Lafayette Central Park Executive Director David Calhoun said the group is preparing to launch a major fundraising push, reaching out to private donors and businesses.
Calhoun said he has held back because he wanted to approach donors with a plan showing how their money will be used.
“Now we really start our fundraising effort because now we have something tangible to show,” he said.
The Horse Farm property had been owned for years by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The City-Parish Council agreed in 2012 to pay UL-Lafayette $5.8 million for the property and to trade the university an 8-acre city park near the school’s main campus.
The only stipulation on development of the park came in that agreement, which prohibits permanent basketball courts, tennis courts and fields for organized team sports.
The council already has endorsed the general plan for the types of activities and features that should be at the park: nature trails, gardens, a farmers market, a dog park, live music, picnic areas and playgrounds.