An ordinance could allow the City of Lafayette to finally acquire an infamous four-corner property and transform it into a police substation.
For years, the Less Pay Motel has sat on the corner of University and Cameron Streets. Since City-Parish Councilman Brandon Shelvin took office in 2008, he’s been fixated with the property and the idea of revamping the image associated with the area.
“Many, many years ago, that was the main key intersection in Lafayette. Everything flowed through there,” Shelvin explained. “When you figure in gentrification and when you figure in urban sprawl and just the degradation of some of the businesses and homes in that area going southward, it created a haven for some of the illegal crimes that’s been going on in that area.”
The area has become known as a sort of cornerstone of illegal activity. Lafayette Police have made dozens of arrests which have led to multiple convictions.
“Cleary, we know what’s going on in that area,” said Shelvin. “We need to change the whole landscape of that area. Give people hope in that area, (let them know) that we are not just sitting up here as a government not caring and not showing any compassion.”
The council meets on Tuesday, January 20th and will decide on the final adoption of the ordinance. According to LCG’s website agenda, the ordinance gives council members two options in acquiring the property.
O-010-2015 An ordinance of the Lafayette City-Parish Council declaring the Police Substation and Public Plaza project a public necessity and authorizing the acquisition of the necessary rights-of-way, immovable property and other property rights requisite to the construction of said project, either on an amicable basis or through the use of the expropriation process if necessary.
City- Parish President Joey Durel would be tasked with negotiating a contract with the owner of Less Pay. If a fair market value contract could not be reached, the city could possible take the property, as it would be deemed in the best interest of the city. Shelvin is hoping to purchase the motel, by dipping into a $500,000 property acquisition budget.
“We certainly don’t want to be in the business of taking property from people,” he said.
If adopted, the motel would be torn down and Lafayette Police Precinct 1 would relocate from the Clifton Chenier Center; as soon as possible, according to Shelvin.
The owner of Less Pay Motel could not be reached for comment.