The master plan for Lafayette Central Park was released over the weekend. For Lafayette residents, Party in the Park was a celebration months in the making for a project that will bring a world-class park to the Hub City. LCP Director of Planning and Design "EB" Brooks says she didn't hear any complaints.

"I think they were all really impressed," says Brooks. "Everybody was real excited."

Brooks believes they are doing a successful job of presenting the public with what they want - a world class park that maintains its natural beauty and enhances it.

"I think everybody was really impressed with how much the community engagement that we did actually was reflected within the plan. We're really sensitive to making sure that the vision was really kind of in line with what the community had told us throughout the last six months of public outreach."

That "vision" includes a paved walking and running track that'll be two miles long and a dog park, among beautiful live oaks and gorgeous ravines.

But while one big step was successfully taken over the weekend, there are many more steps that will need to be climbed in order to begin construction on the park in late fall like LCP is hoping.

Next up for LCP will be getting the Lafayette City-Parish Council's approval. LCP will present the master plans to LCG on June 3rd.

But then there is the financial side of the project. The first phase of construction will cost more than $30 million.Brooks says they are "coming up with a whole slew of opportunities for people to give." She says they are looking at breaking down people's giving into levels: million dollar donors, $600,000.00 donors, as well as planned giving, which she says will allow people to pay with pledges over time. Brooks says they will also launch a general campaign for the people who would like to contribute but can't give in the huge amounts.

Sponsorships is another way LCP is looking to raise the funds it needs - people and businesses sponsoring pieces of the park.

Also, Brooks says they will break the $30 million in funds in half - $15 million for building items into the park and $15 million into an endowment fund so that they can maintain what they build. She says they will build the park in phases.

"As we continue moving through the fundraising process, we will continually be building an equal or greater endowment fund so that we don't build a world-class park today and ten years from now it's falling to ruins."

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