At his State of the Parish address Feb. 6 at the Cajundome Convention Center, City-Parish President Joey Durel announced the formation of the nonprofit Lafayette Central Park Inc., the entity that will help drive the process for turning Lafayette Consolidated Government's 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. LCP will oversee the committees and processes responsible for programming, planning, design, construction, budget and finance, fundraising and public relations. It will eventually operate and manage the park via a longterm lease or cooperative endeavor agreement with LCG.

A diverse group of community-minded heavy hitters is heading up the project:

Elaine Abell (attorney)
John Arceneaux (LPTFA)
Don Briggs (LOGA)
Dr. James Caillier (Taylor Foundation)
Reggie Dupre (Dupre Logistics)
Randy Haynie (Haynie & Associates)
Gregg Gothreaux (LEDA)
Bill Fenstermaker (Fenstermaker)
Mazie Movassaghi (civic and charitable volunteer)
David Welch (Stone Energy)
Lenny Lemoine-chairman (The Lemoine Company)
Rodney Savoy (River Ranch)
Allyson Pharr (attorney, Acadian Ambulance)
Richard Spoon-vice chairman (ArchPoint Consulting)

horse-farm

Durel had the following to say at his SOTP address (he did not announce the members by name at the event, though ABiz was able to obtain the list ahead of his talk):

As you know we have spent a few years in getting the horse farm to another level. We have gone through stages that were very important to its evolution. The property was initially “saved” by the Save the Horse Farm group, made up of citizens from all walks of life. They helped prevent it from becoming a shopping center.

Then, we took it from there and the city purchased it, preserving it forever, as public green space. I approached the Community Foundation of Acadiana several years ago about the possibility of turning the park over to them, taking it out from the restrictions of government. This may be the best public/private partnership in the history of Lafayette. Over the years, that idea has evolved, due in large part to the amazing amount of research effort on the part of the CFA.

Today, I have been given permission to announce that a new non-profit has been formed to bring our park to a whole new level. The name is appropriately, Lafayette Central Park Inc. That does not mean that this will be the name of the park. ... Very important to the process, they are looking forward to a lot of community input and volunteers to serve on various committees. I cannot say enough about how lucky Lafayette is to have an organization like the CFA that has served as the kind of honest broker we needed for putting this kind of complex deal together. I now have more confidence than ever this will truly be a world-class park for our community. ...

I also want to acknowledge another great community organization, the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Agency. They have been asked to front the roughly $2.5 million for the “soft costs.” This group of people serves for no other reason than to help build up lafayette.

To both of these organizations, the people of Lafayette owe you a debt of gratitude. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.

In a press release later that afternoon, CFA announced the board members, noting that the board was selected by an ad hoc steering committee of the CFA.

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