Mayor-President Josh Guillory sits in silence after protestors disrupted a town hall meeting on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at the Robichaux Center in Lafayette.

Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory on Wednesday began soliciting proposals from businesses and organizations interested in operating four recreation centers he targeted for closure in north Lafayette.

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Guillory said closing the centers and laying off employees is needed because city sales tax income is down due to business closures ordered to slow spread of the coronavirus. 

After announcing July 17 his plans to close the four recreation centers in predominantly Black neighborhoods and following an explosion of outcry from the Black community, Guillory said he would work to keep the centers open through public-private partnerships or selling naming rights.

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According to the RFP released Wednesday, Guillory is seeking a business or organization to run the centers for Lafayette Consolidated Government. The business or organization would be responsible for hiring its own staff, marketing the centers, working with LCG to set fees for use of the centers and share any profits with LCG.

Any contract would require the recreation centers be accessible to all Lafayette Parish citizens; emergency services must be available at all times; and the centers must be maintained according to all codes and regulations.

Protesters disrupt Lafayette mayor-president's town hall over closing of rec centers

Release of the RFP came a few hours after a contentious noon town hall meeting in which Black residents for 20 minutes stood in protest, chanting for Guillory to save the recreations centers. The protesters were eventually escorted out of the Robicheaux Recreation Center by Lafayette Police officers.

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