Last Modified: Friday, May 02, 2014 4:56 PM
LAFAYETTE — Officials planning a new park in Lafayette on the site now known as the old University of Louisiana "Horse Farm" are asking area residents for ideas.
A conceptual plan for the park includes proposals for a playground, walking paths, an amphitheater, tree houses, a sculpture garden and a dog park. The Advocate reports that the park is expected to be a multi-million dollar project that will take years to develop.
The nonprofit group Lafayette Central Park is overseeing development of the yet-to-be-named park on what's now a vacant 100-acre tract.
Work on the park is set to begin this fall, but there likely will not be enough money to do everything at once.
"What we are focusing on is asking the public to prioritize our funding," said Elizabeth "EB" Brooks, director of planning and design for Lafayette Central Park.
A meeting to gather opinions was set to run from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday at Farmers' & Artisans' Market at the Horse Farm. People also will be able to submit their views in an online survey available through May 14 at www.lafayettecentralpark.org/take-survey.
The forums and survey queries residents on what they think about the current plan. It lets them vote with fake money on which components they would choose to pay for if funds were limited.
"The trick is there is $20 million worth of stuff, but they are given $10 million," Brooks said.
Brooks said $10 million is what's expected to be available for the first phase of the park's development, assuming Lafayette Central Park meets its fundraising goal of $30 million.
About $15 million of that would go into an endowment to pay for future maintenance expenses and $5 million would be needed for basic infrastructure, such as water lines, leaving about $10 million for park features.
The City-Parish Council agreed in 2012 to pay the University of Louisiana at Lafayette $5.8 million for the Horse Farm and also to trade the university an 8-acre city park near the school's main campus.