In the next five years, downtown Lafayette will be a completely different place than it is right now. At least that's the idea for developers of the Downtown Action Plan, who want to create more of a city vibe.
“Right now, we only offer high quality rural options, we offer suburban,” said Nathan Norris, the CEO of Downtown Lafayette. “But, for that segment of the population that really wants to experience a real city, we don't have that right now.”
Norris says the action plan outlines the vision of the future, which includes a variety of retailers, restaurants, parking garages, and most importantly, places to live. As the population keeps growing and younger people move to the area, Norris says the need is there.
“The timing of this is really critical because in order for downtown to be more balanced and add value to the overall region, you've got to have a place where people can live,” said Norris. “Otherwise, they'll go to other cities.”
And adding apartments, lofts, and flats will be a vertical job. But don't expect any skyscrapers anytime soon. Geoff Dyer, Director of Design, says that's not the atmosphere they're going for.
“We do plan on building up, but it's really about doing it the right scale, the right size,” said Dyer.
And what does feel right is adding character to the ordinary objects. Dyer says expect more color, more character, and more of a local artistic vibe.
“It's about taking those everyday things like benches, electrical boxes and light poles and looking into ways of how to involve artists in making those much more interesting,” said Dyer.