Urban Revitalization

Catalyzing Opportunitiesto Develop the Urban Core

The towns and cities of Acadiana are among the most important assets that define our region’s identity and fuel its economic opportunity. Blessed with communities both large and small, Acadiana offers a rich spectrum of settings to live and work. 1A understands the primary importance of these essential places and works with private investors, businesses, elected officials, and public agencies to implement successful strategies and new policies for urban revitalization and catalyze new development activity.

Contact

Harry Weiss

VP, Urban Revitalization & Development

harry@oneacadiana.org

337.408.3668

Urban Revitalization and Development Committee

The Urban Revitalization and Development Committee is an assembly of strategic thinkers that share a keen interest in Urban Environments, who assess the challenges and opportunities for sustaining vibrant communities across Acadiana, and recommend new strategies with the necessary tools to implement improvement.  The URD Committee plays a critical role in advising the 1A Board of Directors on all things urban, and provides critical connective tissue throughout the region that supports partnerships for urban development at all scales.

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Work of the Committee

 

The URD Committee welcomes both 1A members and non-members to engage in our discussions and local initiatives, such as the planning for the I-49 Lafayette Connector, redevelopment efforts in Lafayette’s urban core, and leveraging the unique assets of communities across the region. Meeting monthly, the Committee provides input for the development of policy recommendations advocated by 1A, and tackles individual projects through task forces.

2016 Priorities

 
  • Identify and advocate for best design solutions for the I-49 Lafayette Connector and work to achieve community consensus for the project.
  • Advance the redevelopment of the Old Federal Courthouse in Downtown Lafayette by identifying an alternate site for a future parish courthouse, addressing the parking infrastructure needed for infill development, and recommending targeted economic incentives to attract new investment.
  • Collaborate in the development of a gateway corridor strategy for University Avenue that includes the strong commitment of local property and business owners.
  • Forge regional cooperation around common revitalization strategies for communities across the Acadiana Region.
  • Sponsor public educational programs on issues of Urban Development, specifically on the challenges of vacant urban land, adjudicated property and brownfields.

 

The I-49 Lafayette Connector and the Future of the Urban Core

Urban highways are challenging, yet critical, pieces of the necessary infrastructure that sustains urban and regional economies. They exist in some tension with urban settings - too often they have been designed with a single-minded focus on their transportation functions while ignoring their primary effect in shaping the urban environment. However, we recognize that thriving communities need both excellent transportation facilities and vibrant inner cities to be successful. The investment in transportation infrastructure must also lay the foundation for urban success, creating a positive relationship between road and city that attracts, rather than repels, new investment.

A Project Demanding the Highest Standards

 
The I-49 Lafayette Connector is a project of enormous complexity and sensitivity that demands the highest standards of contemporary planning, engineering, and urban design. The imperative for the Connector is to get it right from the start – to repair and enhance our urban fabric, to leverage neighborhood cohesion and vitality, to remediate environmentally contaminated sites, to provide an engine for investment, to provide an aesthetically compelling gateway to the community, and to inaugurate a new era of Lafayette’s urbanization.

Opportunity to Plan for the Future

 
To achieve the most successful outcome for the Connector, we must recognize that I-49 and urban revitalization are both important goals, that healthy debate and strong community participation are essential to generate a great project, and that the Lafayette Connector constitutes an unparalleled opportunity to plan for an urban future that leverages the single-largest public investment in our recent history.

 

Incentives with Intent

Urban redevelopment policy has created an array of incentives to stimulate new investment in languishing urban districts. Whether its tax abatement, tax credits, or tax increment financing; PILOTs, public infrastructure contributions, or performance zoning; redevelopment bonuses or regulatory relief, the toolkit is rich with options.

Essential to successful redevelopment is the judicious use of these tools for targeted outcomes rather than a generic approach to generic growth. 1A is engaged in the analysis and recommendation of local incentive policies that will spur new infill development in Lafayette’s urban core.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but the parts are pretty spectacular in themselves.

Harry Weiss

VP of Urban Revitalization and Development

Connected by Culture

Acadiana is home to a rich collection of communities – from historic Parish seats like Abbeville and New Iberia to traditional communities like Arnaudville, Crowley, Abbeville, and Franklin where the roots of regional identity grow deep. Together they comprise one of the most distinct cultural settings in America that has sustained its authenticity despite the national forces of homogenization. These are the places where the joi de vivre of Cajun Louisiana is a daily experience – part and parcel of the way folks live around here.

Nurturing these places as they experience economic change goes hand in hand with sustaining the very qualities of our region that make it unlike any place else in America. Through regional collaboration and sharing of technical expertise, 1A plays an important role in forging common purpose and effective approaches for all Acadiana communities.

Lafayette - The Hub City

Lafayette occupies a unique place in Acadiana. It is the largest urbanized area and serves as a primary economic generator of the region. Endowed with exceptional assets like University of Louisiana at Lafayette, South Louisiana Community College, LUS Fiber – one of the few municipal high-speed fiber utilities in the country, and an array of medical institutions, Lafayette serves as our preeminent urban setting. 1A dedciates significant time and resources to advancing the urban agenda in Lafayette, working closely with public sector partners at Lafayette Consolidated Government, the Downtown Development Authority, LEDA, and LPTFA who share a common vision of the city’s future.

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