Master plan down to final four

by Walter Pierce

The winning firm will be hired to produce a comprehensive master plan for Lafayette Parish. Lafayette Consolidated Government late Tuesday announced that four firms have been selected as finalists to produce a comprehensive master plan for Lafayette Parish. Twelve planning firms from around the country responded to a request for qualifications LCG issued in October; the four finalists, recommended to City-Parish President Joey Durel by a 25-person committee that analyzed the responses to the RFQ, will now submit comprehensive proposals to LCG.

The four firms chosen are Coral Gables, Fla.-based Dover, Kohl & Partners; Fregonese Associates of Portland, Ore.; Goody Clancy of Boston, Mass.; and Philadelphia, Pa.'s Wallace Roberts & Todd. Each of the firms has extensive experience in city planning; some of them have produced comprehensive plans for cities along the Gulf Coast including in Louisiana.

The proposals submitted to LCG will address such issues as transportation, land use, infrastructure, cultural preservation and housing. The firms are tentatively scheduled to make a pitch - in person - to LCG in late February. At the request of Durel, the City-Parish Council has tucked away $400,000 each of the last two years as a down payment on what is anticipated to be a total cost of roughly $1.2 million to pay the winning firm to produce the plan, which will be based in part on a comprehensive plan - Lafayette In the Next Century - already undertaken by LCG in coordination with citizen- and professional committees. (Durel is expected to budget a third $400,000 installment for the comprehensive plan in the next fiscal year budget.)

The Center for Planning Excellence in Baton Rouge has assisted LCG in the issuance of the RFQ and in other aspects of the planning process.

In a press release announcing the finalists, Durel says, "Reading the qualifications and hearing the discussion of the Advisory Committee boosted my enthusiasm about the important work that can be furthered by a Comprehensive Plan.  I look forward to having all of our citizens in the Parish participate in picking the firm and helping to develop a plan that guides our growth and gives us a cohesive vision for the future."