After more than a year of work and public input, a draft Master Plan for Opelousas was presented in the city today.
The plan, which you can see for yourself by scrolling down, is more than 130 pages of recommendations and implementation strategies. Construction of the plan was overseen by the Opelousas Downtown Development District, with input from stakeholders, including business owners and citizens.
"These recommendations reflect the input of the many Opelousas residents and business owners who attended public meetings, Opelousas High School students, city and parish staff, and elected and appointed officials. The overall recommendations will create a greater downtown area that is cohesive, well connected, and attractive to existing and future residents and business owners. If implemented, the results of these recommendations will create a vibrant downtown as described in the shared vision described above. A number of these recommendations could be implemented citywide, if applicable," the plan states.
The overall guiding goals were:
- Position Opelousas as a regional destination for commerce and community services
- Develop a vibrant network of public space and active transportation networks
- Integrate sustainability into development and infrastructure improvements
- Celebrate the cultural assets and historic character of downtown Opelousas
The plan has overall recommendations for the entire district, as well as more narrow, sub-district recommendations.
The overall recommendations are broken down into these categories:
Urban Design recommendations address the protection and enhancement of the District’s historic character, visual distinctiveness, and pedestrian friendliness by guiding public and private development practices.
Mobility recommendations address improvements that allow pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and all other modes of transportation to easily navigate through and access the District, with an emphasis on developing safe multimodal corridors.
Economic Development recommendations address attracting potential residents and employers to the District, fostering entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, developing robust, sustainable programming, and strategic recruitment and approval of new uses within the District.
Arts and Culture recommendations address supporting and improving arts and culture organizations and creating opportunities to leverage art in future development, both public and private, in innovative ways.
Sustainability recommendations address planning for the long-term viability of future development in the District and suggest actions that will address persistent environmental stressors and prepare the District for sustainable future growth.
Adaptive Reuse recommendations address maintaining or returning vacant or blighted structures to commerce by adapting older buildings for new uses, as well as the required changes to existing zoning, education, and incentives for the developer community.
Here's the full plan: