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Lafayette's newest public park calls for lush gardens, walking trails, ponds, pavilions


LAFAYETTE, Louisiana — Plans for a new Lafayette public park on the 100-acre Horse Farm property call for lush gardens, walking trails, ponds, pavilions and tree houses out of a kid's dream.

The only thing needed now is millions of dollars to build it.

After falling behind on an ambitious timeline developed early on in the project, the nonprofit group overseeing fundraising for the park and its development has a master plan in hand and is preparing for the serious work of raising serious money.

"We are poised now for great success," said Sheldon Roy, a veteran fundraiser who began work last month as Lafayette Central Park's new director of financial development.

Lafayette city-parish government purchased the Horse Farm from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for $5.8 million in 2012, with the plan of having Lafayette Central Park lease the property and take responsibility for building and managing a park there.

The Advocate reports ( ) the group finalized a master plan for the property last year that emerged out of series of community forums. The strategy is to build the park in two or more phases, and the current estimate for the first phase hovers around $16 million.

Roy said it has yet to be determined what the goal will be for a major capital campaign he plans to launch by the summer.

He said the fundraising goal will seek to balance demands of the project with what he feels is the community's capacity for philanthropy because the group wants to be sure to hit its mark.

Information from: The Advocate,

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