Nov 14, 2012 7:54 PM by Erin Steuber

Community forums to help shape Lafayette's future

Today kicks off the second round of community forums dealing with the Lafayette Consolidated Government Comprehensive Plan. The idea is to get community's input to better shape Lafayette's future.

During the first set of meetings, LCG collected information through the recent census and compared it to the realities of life here in Lafayette, as described by residents who participated. LCG recognized population growth as being one of the most important aspects to consider in the comprehensive plan, since Lafayette Parish is the fastest growing in Louisiana. They discovered, contrary to the census data, rural and satellite community growth exceeded growth in the city. And lastly, growth has been occuring without the proper infrastructure.

This second round is hoping to create solutions to better plan for the growth in Lafayette's future. Tonight's meeting is at Acadian Middle School. The first forum was today at noon. The goal at each? Decide where Lafayette will be in 20 years.

Residents can participate in six forums between now and November 17. The goal is to get people across Lafayette to voice their opinion on what Lafayette should look like.

"In order for us to compete, we have to get it out of our minds that were competing locally," said City Coordinate Steven Oubre. "We're really competing on a national stage now, and Lafayette is going to have to do things very differently if we're going to be competitive."

Each forum breaks participants into smaller groups to better discuss alternatives to the future. Offering solutions to the problems with continued growth, transportation and infrastructure, just to name a few.

"The problem typically is that visuals are done, they get done, and no one is in charge of implementing them," said Oubre. "Well this process is really creating a set of ordinances that memorialize the plan in a document. It's a governance document that allows the administration to make sure that what people said they wanted, they will get."

Oubre says the second round is the fun part, beginning to actually envision what the parish will look like. He says without the people of the parish buying into this idea, it will never become a reality.

"It's extremely exciting for me," said new resident Meredith Mineo. "I think it's part of the reason I wanted to come down here. Moving from a city like New York City, you feel like you have very little say in what happens around you. Being able to be part of the community from the time that the inception of an idea happens is really important to me."

If you couldn't make it out today, there are four more opportunities to participate:

Thursday, November 15, noon, South Regional Library
Thursday, November 15, 6 p.m., East Bayou Baptist Church
Friday, November 16, 2 p.m., Heymann Center
Saturday, November 17, 9 a.m., Holy Rosary Institute, Windolph Hall



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