As a long-term resident of Lafayette, I can no longer stay silent. I listened to Mayor-President Josh Guillory's announcement Friday regarding closures of four recreational centers with sadness and incredulity.
I was dismayed in May when Guillory announced that he was closing the Acadiana Nature Station, the Lafayette Science Museum, three senior centers, and the Heymann Center. As pointed out by Geoff Daily in The Current, "Lafayette lost its primary venue for everything from dance recitals to touring Broadway shows, two of its best educational resources and tourist attractions and all of the city’s public facilities for senior citizens."
It seemed to me that attractions like these are the lifeblood of a city, as well as the very things that would attract businesses and individuals to move to Lafayette.
But then the closure of four recreational centers all located on the north side of Lafayette in some of the poorest sections of our town where 75% of the residents are Black is not only dismaying, it is unconscionable and heartless. According to Parish Councilman A.B. Rubin, these recreation centers are safe havens for the children in the communities. They are used for everything from tutoring, scouting, musical classes, sports, aerobic classes, adult education and polling stations.
Closing these centers while leaving open all of Lafayette's publicly funded golf courses is appalling.
Lafayette deserves better. We deserve better.