LAFAYETTE – A video of Jefferson street in Downtown Lafayette from the early sixties shows just how popular Downtown was.
Now…Not so much.
Much of that can be attributed to suburban sprawl, giving more options to dine, shop and socialize outside of Downtown.
But a study done by Robert Gibbs of the Gibbs Planning Group, a nationally renowned development firm, shows that Downtown Lafayette can, and should, be the destination hub it once was.
Explains Pat Trahan, a Downtown Lafayette resident who also sits on the Downtown Management Committee explains, “He said he thinks we have room for another thirty five to forty five new stores and restaurants in downtown Lafayette based on his analysis of our downtown market and comparing it to similar markets across the country.”
Gibbs says the public realm, the areas of Downtown that are used by the general public, is in great shape and a catalyst for future development.
“On Jefferson Street, for instance, you’ve got a narrow street, with wide sidewalks, slow traffic, the street trees are great, streets capes great. So the public realm, the real expensive difficult one to move, he says is really good,” says Trahan.
Where Downtown needs work is the private realm, especially when it comes to opaque windows, dated awnings, and lackluster facades
“Our public realm is really great,” adds Trahan, “But if you look at the buildings and the facades and the signage…not so great.”
Downtown Lafayette has seen its highs and lows. If the advice of Gibbs is taking seriously, Downtown Lafayette could set itself up for an all time high.