Kevin Blanchard, a former director of development and public works at Lafayette Consolidated Government, has been hired executive director of the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authoriy.

Economic development in north Lafayette is one of the areas the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority will focus on, its newly hired executive director said Thursday.

The LPTFA, formed in 1979 to benefit the city of Lafayette, announced Wednesday it hired Kevin Blanchard as its first executive director. His salary is $128,000 a year.

Blanchard said Thursday that during the interview process for his new post, board members indicated they want the organization to focus more on economic development on the north side of the city.

In recent years, the organization has focused on solidifying its physical presence in downtown Lafayette, with offices, housing and property in and around Second Street, including Uptown Lofts, the former Joie de Vivre apartments it purchased from the Outreach Center, and Studios at LWG.

The interest in the downtown area, he said, will continue.

"I don't think we can have a really strong city without a strong downtown," Blanchard said.

The University Avenue corridor, the Evangeline Thruway corridor that will be impacted by construction of Interstate 49, housing and non-traditional real estate are all areas the LPTFA may explore.

Blanchard, a former journalist and attorney, served as development director and public works director with Lafayette Consolidated Government before accepting the job as chief operating officer for Southern Lifestyle Development. He previously served as a volunteer on the Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Committee, set up by LCG to plan for redevelopment around part of the Thruway that will be bypassed when I-49 is built.

The LPTFA, Blanchard said, has accumulated "some pretty strong assets" over the years by making good financial investments. Because of the group's broad mandate, it can be an active partner with other public organizations, private developers and nonprofits, he said.

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