Imagine downtown Broussard as a family-friendly destination with an outdoor music venue, pocket parks and shaded sidewalks for leisurely strolls to restaurants, shops and coffee houses.
This is the community vision for Broussard's Main Street that took shape during a public meeting Monday evening at The Ballroom of Broussard.
"So what would you like to see happen as a result of this experience?" asked Brent D. Henley of The Pyramid Group. "It is a loaded question."
The collective response from the crowd? Action, not a plan that sits on a shelf. That's the goal, although the timeline for implementation is still up in the air.
Henley led the Monday's brainstorming session to kick off the Envision Broussard charrette — an intensive, interdisciplinary design session that includes local leaders, consultants, stakeholders, landowners and the public.
The redevelopment project will primarily involve Main Street from South Bernard Road to Alberton Parkway.
"This is the beginning," said Broussard Mayor Ray Bourque. "This is a conversation of what downtown Broussard could be, and we need this input to make sure we're on the right path."
Leaders and citizens focused on Arceneaux Park as a space that could be key to redeveloping downtown Broussard. The sports park has become less popular in recent years with the construction of the Broussard Sports Complex at St. Julien Park.
Arceneaux Park, which is located between Main Street and U.S. 90, could be purchased from the parish and developed into a space for live music, food truck roundups and more.
Geoff Dyer, the urban designer leading Envision Broussard, is working with city leaders and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority on the project. Dyer previously served as director of design and later as CEO of Lafayette's Downtown Development Authority.
Dyer pointed to Greenville, South Carolina; Fairhope, Alabama; and even Lafayette's Oil Center for inspiration of what downtown Broussard could become.
In addition to big-picture ideas, community feedback from Monday's forum highlighted the importance of infrastructural improvements.
Leaders stressed that Envision Broussard wasn't just a creative idea born to drive economic activity in the city's downtown area but would serve as a way to address road, drainage and utilities problems.
"A lot of our sidewalks are crumbling or don’t go anywhere or aren’t there at all," Dyer said. "We want to have the choice to walk from one end of downtown to the other and make it shaded so it’s more comfortable and light it so it’s safer."
Community feedback will guide project leaders as they produce a vision for downtown Broussard during this week's charrette. Their work will be presented in the form of a master plan during a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at The Ballroom of Broussard.
Learn more at envisionbroussard.com.
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