People who helped shape a plan for the development of downtown Lafayette, got a chance to see their work in progress Wednesday night at the Acadiana Center for the Arts.
“Make better connections to downtown. Find ways to infill housing, and really extend the beautiful character of old downtown,” explains Bernard Zyscovich.
Zyscovich, is leading the project. He says it's the public who drive the progress of a plan, but it's up to their expertise to make it a reality.
“Not every idea's gonna work and that's where they need to trust as in terms of coming up with these other ideas to sort of what really works from what doesn't work,” says Zyscovich.
Zyscovich says the plan is far from implementation, however there are some things that can happen immediately once it is finalized and accepted. But one of the major aspects of it will be to expand downtown across Johnston St. into the Freetown, Port Rico area with the idea of making it accessible to UL's campus.
“Suddenly the population of downtown doubles,” says Zyscovich, “There's a lot more people, so the challenge is how do we integrate. How do we find the connections.”
Downtown Development Director Nathan Norris was not around for the first stages of the public input sessions, but is excited about Wednesday's presentation.
“We're getting beyond the point of just saying ok what do you guys want to, we've heard what you want, here's what we recommend,” says Norris.
Norris says he will also help the architects along the way as the plan becomes more focused and concrete.
“It's not just good enough to come up with fanciful ideas,” says Norris, “They have to be concrete and implementable, and we will work with them hand in hand.”
The next step is to finalize the plan and prioritize the most important aspects. Then the architects will propose the plan in specific items, to Lafayette Consolidated Government which they can move forward on or not.