The Lafayette City-Parish Council has approved plans for Lafayette Central Park.

District 7 Council Member Don Bertrand said the unanimous vote reflects the community's desires.

"It is not lost on me that the entire community has embraced this, gotten involved with this, and wants this to happen," Bertrand said.

I can't tell you to how wonderful it is to see this 100 acres still preserved by our city.

Lafayette Central Park, Inc, the non-profit that runs the park at the former University of Louisiana at Lafayette horse farm, will need to raise $40-$60 million to complete and maintain the project.

Lafayette Chamber of Commerce CEO Jason El Koubi, along with 21 other community members, spoke at Tuesday's regular council meeting. El Koubi said within the business community, "there's a tremendous amount of excitement" surrounding the park's development.

Ed Rios, who described himself as a "future neighbor" to the park, is relocating to Lafayette from New Orleans. Rios said he chose the neighborhood primarily because of the park, as he used to neighbor City Park in New Orleans.

Because another neighborhood resident had earlier voiced concerns about security at the park, City-Parish President Joey Durel asked Rios if he felt safe near City Park.

"I actually used to walk my dog at night there," Rios said. "I felt safe."

Dr. Jon "Skip" Palmintier said he grew up next to the horse farm in the 1950s, where he spent "some of the best years of (his) entire life."

"I can't tell you to how wonderful it is to see this 100 acres still preserved by our city," Palmintier said, although he urged the park's planners to include a veteran's memorial within the space. "I just want to make sure that in designing this park, we don't forget the veterans," he said.

Expect to see lush gardens, an amphitheater and a hammock grove at the park, along with revenue-generating attractions like mini golf and a carousel. The first phase should be complete within 12 to 16 months.

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