Lafayette will soon have three new cultural districts as the applications for Greater Freetown-Port Rico, University Gateway and the Oil Center cultural districts were conditionally approved by the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.

The cultural districts now cover a large swath of the city core.

Buildings more than 50 years old are eligible for state historic renovation tax credits within cultural districts, which also allow for sales tax exemptions on certain original works of art.

The historic renovation tax credit — which covers 20 to 25 percent of eligible construction costs — is a primary reason Mayor-President Joel Robideaux’s administration is pushing to create more districts, according Robideaux’s aide, Kate Durio.

The council voted in March to approve three new districts around the Freetown neighborhood, University Avenue corridor and the Oil Center. 

The new districts are expected to certified by the state July 1.

A cultural district in the McComb-Veazey neighborhood was created last year. With that one and another in downtown Lafayette, there are now five contiguous cultural districts in the city stretching from Interstate 10 to Vermilionville. 

“The establishment of these new cultural districts is an example of the CREATE Initiative working with the State to enhance the impact of our cultural economy, said Mayor-President Joel Robideaux. "With historic state tax credits now available, developers are already reaching out to us about redevelopment in these districts.”