Beyond the Park at the Horse Farm : exploring best practices in public-private partnerships to improve Lafayette's growing park system

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2014-12

Authors

Brooks, Elizabeth Tarleton

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Abstract

Municipalities throughout the country are increasingly seeking out innovative partnerships with the private sector to acquire, operate, and/or maintain public parks. An example of this is found in Lafayette, Louisiana, where Lafayette Consolidated Government recently purchased a 100-acre farm from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and collaborated with community leaders to form a public-private partnership with a new non-profit, Lafayette Central Park, Inc. This entity is currently undertaking the necessary steps to lease, plan, design, fund, build, operate, and maintain a new community park on the property. This report explores the history of public-private partnerships found within park administration, as well as the myriad legal, organizational, and financial structures in place within those partnerships. The research also highlights potential benefits and drawbacks to these partnerships, found within four case studies in the Southeast, as well as through precedents found in previous research. The four case studies are Audubon Park and City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Memorial Park and Discovery Green in Houston, Texas. The insights, challenges, and best practices found through the examination in this report are used to create a series of recommendations for the fledgling non-profit organization, Lafayette Central Park, for both short-term and long-term success.

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