Jan. 7, 2016 01:56 PM

Lafayette Central Park Inc. confirmed in a press release Wednesday that it raised more than $11 million in 2015, an amount that allows Phase 1 construction on the public park to commence this year.

In addition to the largest lead gift from a still anonymous donor who has naming rights to the park, the most recent large contributions came as a $1 million challenge for matching funds from Dr. Kip Schumacher and his wife, Carolyn Doerle Schumacher, and several others who asked to remain anonymous at this time. The challenge was met and quickly surpassed, according to the release, bringing the total amount raised in December alone to $2.64 million.

Community Foundation of Acadiana, in partnership with LCP, the nonprofit charged with building and maintaining the park, facilitated the $1 million challenge and manages dollars raised, year-round, from its various fundraising activities.

“We have been overwhelmed with the generosity of this community, especially in the face of low oil prices. The good news is that many of our business and civic leaders still feel that the impact this park will have on the future of our region is worth their investment,” LCP Board Chairman Lenny Lemoine said in the release.

Fundraising Committee Co-Chair Randy Haynie called the donations “further proof that the park project is supported by so many” and expressed his hope that goals for the capital campaign in 2016 will also be met.

LCP is currently working to secure additional major donors and hopes to launch the public fundraising portion of the campaign in 2016. The goal is to successfully raise funds for the full Phase 1 capital campaign by the end of 2017, approximately $30 million for construction and endowment.

The non-profit plans to begin construction on Phase 1 in 2016, which will include elements such as walking and running trails, tree houses, playgrounds, a pond, a dog park, a farmer’s market pavilion, parking accommodations and restrooms. It also includes much of the necessary infrastructure for the park. A new entry drive off of Johnston Street, two parking lots, pedestrian and vehicular bridges over Coulee Mine and utilities, such as water, electricity, drainage, and sewer lines, are a substantial portion of the first phase that will lay the groundwork for the park.