With a booming economy and nationally ranked unemployment rates, spirits have never been higher in Lafayette, Louisiana. However, city officials are always looking for areas of improvement. One of those areas: Lafayette's downtown. Lafayette's Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley along with Lafayette Downtown Development Authority's CEO Nathan Norris stopped by "Nathan and Bernie in the Morning" to discuss the future of downtown Lafayette.

Now downtown can become what it can become and what it must become, and it is starting to dictate its own personality.

"The word core comes to mind," said Stanely. "You are what your downtown is."

In recent years, Lafayette's downtown area has developed into a cultural, economic, government, and entertainment hub for the city. However, one major absence remains; residents. Nathan Norris says creating opportunities for people to live downtown is a major priority moving forward.

That’s really the plan of the downtown action plan. Providing that option for people who want to live downtown.
Make sure we’re making all our decisions to enhance what makes a downtown attraction to people who like that. Making it convenient, vibrant, and get the character of the place right. - Nathan Norris

With the development of economic centers through the years like the Johnston Street corridor, the Oil Center, and River Ranch, downtown Lafayette has at times struggled to find its place.

Historically downtown became what it had to become. It was dictated by factors that downtown could not control. The economy, the migration of portions of the financial sector to other parts of our city, it was out of downtowns control.

Now downtown can become what it can become and what it must become, and it is starting to dictate its own personality.  - Dee Stanley

Norris says the development of the downtown as a residential area is essential not only to fill a need in Lafayette, but to ensure continued growth success for Lafayette.

I think that’s critically important for an economic development standpoint.
Cities are competing whether we like it or not. They’re competing for talent. So long as we’re not offering the option of high quality city living we’re going to be missing out.
I don’t think we need to tie our hands behind our back in this competition.  - Nathan Norris

To listen to the full audio from the interview, click the play button below: