During the fall of 2013 Franklin Associates has had the opportunity to assist Design Workshop with an extremely exciting opportunity to design a brand new hundred acre public park in the middle of Lafayette, Louisiana. Known locally as “the Horse Farm”, the parcel was owned and operated by the University of Louisiana, Lafayette as the college dairy, and later as an equestrian facility. Over time, the livestock were relocated to other facilities in the parish. The iconic barn, houses, and other structures were also lost to demolition over the past decade. A local activist group “Save the Horse Farm” formed and were instrumental in saving the property from commercial/residential development. The property is now owned by the City of Lafayette, and will be leased to Lafayette Central Park, Inc., a not-for-profit entity charged with designing, installing, operating and maintaining a public park.
With a goal of beginning construction in late 2014, the design process has been divided into two phases: 1) Programming and 2) Spatial Design. Franklin Associates assisted with the programming phase during which the public was asked to make and refine their “wish list” of amenities for the park. Over 1,065 signatures were recorded on sign-in sheets at the fourteen public workshops held in venues across town. The excellent attendance at these meetings is a credit to the hard work of the staff of Lafayette Central Park, Inc. and the staff of the Graham Group, a local PR and branding firm. It is also a testament to the concerned and engaged citizens of the region who have a bold vision for their city. Supplementing the general public workshops were ten stakeholder group or board of director’s meetings where the consultant team gained specific input or vetted their findings with the board.
The exciting Phase II of this project will kick off with more public involvement opportunities in February 2014 as the “wish list” is transformed into schematic designs by the lead consultant Design Workshop. Franklin will again be assisting with venue arrangements, meeting facilitation and project documentation. We are thrilled to be a part of this landmark project for Lafayette.