How will you expand access to recreation, green space and quality of life programming in general?

Jon Liprie
Jon Liprie
Candidate for Parish Council District 3

It is easy to get caught up in infrastructure issues and forget the importance of recreation, green space and quality of life programming. As a physician and hospital administrator, I know it is difficult to compete with other cities and recruit a new young physician to this area. I believe each individual area should evaluate their own needs regarding expansion and access. I am fortunate in that my district includes Youngsville and Broussard, both of which have taken the initiative and are growing rapidly because of this. I will work with the new Mayor-President as well as any elected representatives from the affected areas to reduce blight, litter and crime throughout the Parish.

Jeremy Hidalgo
Jeremy Hidalgo
Candidate for Parish Council District 3

District 3 is blessed with an abundance of green space, including two first-class recreational facilities, and quality of life is very important to our community. I believe that all of our municipalities have done a great job of expanding access to recreation. I believe we, as a parish, need to partner with these individual municipalities and work together pulling in the same direction. I am a proponent of green space availability; however, this should only be a focus second to drainage, roads, and basic infrastructure. The quality of life in District 3 is one of the highest in the entire state and in Lafayette Parish, and I would be proud to represent the citizens of District 3.

Josh Carlson
Josh Carlson
Candidate for Parish Council District 3

These are all important programs. I will expand their access by allocating an appropriate amount of funding as the budget warrants. Two world-class parks have recently been built in my district. My family and I enjoy both of these parks.

Mike Davis
Mike Davis
Candidate for Parish Council District 3

Methods to improve our population's access to green spaces and parks would obviously be to construct more parks and allocate more lots to green spaces, but funding these initiatives becomes the problem. In lieu of taxpayer-funded parks and green or open spaces, I will work with private and third sector parties through partnerships, trusts or sponsorships to fund land acquisition for parks or green spaces and the corresponding land development that comes with building such facilities. I would create public fundraising events and initiatives for things such as naming rights to different facility aspects, which is another proven method of park funding, and these are all similar methods to what Moncus Park is currently doing to fund its construction and development. A powerful disincentive keeping people from enjoying some of the parks and green spaces Lafayette already has and deriving health benefits from them is the presence of anti-social behavior, which I will ensure be curbed, or more ideally, eliminated by investing in additional staffing when necessary to ensure that our parks and spaces are properly maintained. One of the biggest challenges is identifying the socioeconomic groups within Lafayette Parish who are less likely to have access to such facilities, which is a challenge that I am more than willing to take head on, and bring these facilities to them. Identifying such disadvantaged groups requires detailed knowledge of local needs, cultural contexts, and attitudes, which are things a local candidate such as myself fully understands. Access to green and open spaces are critical for populations as research consistently shows a positive correlation between access to green or open spaces and personal mental and physical health, and improved personal health translates to less health problems and less taxpayer money that has to be allocated to address such health problems.

Regarding access to quality of life programming, as a member of the Parish Council I will actively work to improve the lifestyles of our citizens, parishwide, by fostering and promoting balanced lifestyles. “Quality of Life” can be a broad concept but is essentially the measure of an individual’s satisfaction in the aspects that are most valuable to that person. While this concept can be subjective as we all value things differently, we all have the same basic needs when it comes right down to it. Societal aspects such as access to transportation, safety, health, income, access to jobs, access to activities to maintain a healthy work-life balance, education, access to housing, quality of the environment in terms of pollution, access to equal opportunities, and community and civic engagement all factor into our overall quality of life as citizens. Improving our drainage situation will entice more citizens and businesses to move into our area since the threat of flooding will be no more, which in turn will improve our economy by means of our primary and secondary business sectors. An improved economy will lure in tertiary businesses that will provide a range of work-life balance offerings to enhance our citizens' participation in cultural and entertainment activities. As a member of the Parish Council and utilizing my research into renewable energies technologies and the patents that I am generating as a result, I am here to diversify Louisiana’s manufacturing industries. I will do this by attracting renewable manufacturers that make up primary and secondary business sectors to construct their equipment such as wind turbines and solar cells in Louisiana, specifically Lafayette Parish. With I-10, the fourth longest and southernmost cross-country interstate highway, bisecting our state and crossing with I-12, I-20, I-49, I-55, and I-59 positions Louisiana as a prime staging area for transporting goods manufactured in Louisiana to the surrounding regions. Everything is connected, and if we want to provide good quality of life for our citizens, we must ensure that our foundation is one that promotes growth and opportunity for all.