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Lafayette turns to sister city for help in designing Central Park

Looking to turn the Horse Farm into a thriving recreational paradise, officials with the fledgling park are looking for inspiration from friends across the Atlantic Ocean.

Delegates from the parks department of Lafayette’s sister city Namur, Belgium, visited the Hub City this week. On Wednesday, they joined City-Parish President Joey Durel to speak about a future of collaboration between administration from the two cities to shape the Lafayette’s latest park.

But the collaboration is less about those involved today and more for the future leaders of Lafayette, Durel said.

“While we think we are building this park for today, the reality is we are building this park for generations to come,” Durel said. “And just like our historic sister cities in Belgium and France, future generations will cherish this park even more than we do today because they will have grown up with it.

“This park will be a part of their childhood and their children’s and grandchildren’s upbringing.”

Namur’s Director of “Thematic Green Spaces” Alain Detry presented a short video on Namur’s approach to landscaping public parks, which includes themed gardens such as “The flowers of Europe” and “The History of Namur Through Plants.”

“I am pleased to offer my services to the park and am looking forward to sharing our experience with Lafayette,” he said.

Before the presentation, Durel led the delegates on a tour of the property, giving them an overview of the park’s topography, features and native plant life.The details on exactly what they will do to help design the park are yet to be determined.

As for what particularly he’d like to see added to the Horse Farm, Durel said the sycamore tree-lined roads Namur has within its parks would be a great addition. Maybe the road could lead to a fountain, he added.

The presentation and visit is an opportunity to start the discussion of a possible new collaboration between the sister cities, sharing ideas on park planning and loaned public art, such as sculptures or fountains.

“The opportunity to share public art, statues, fountains, is a great way to pay tribute to our sister cities and our shared heritage,” Durel said.

This visit is the latest in an ongoing friendship between Lafayette and Namur since becoming sister cities 35 years ago, the result of which has led to many educational and cultural exchanges. Durel said recently. Lafayette has other sister cities including La Cannet, France, and Moncton, Quebec, Canada.

“I remember back when Katrina hit, our sister cities were the first to call to see if we were alright,” Durel recalled. “They did the same when the tragedy at the Grand Theatre happened.”

Lafayette Parish Master Gardener’s Association President Heather Warner-Finley also announced they will be will be collaborating with Lafayette Central Park administration during the week of Nov. 16 to host the Gardener-in-Chief of the Park at the Palace of Versailles, Alain Baraton.

Baraton will visit the Horse Farm Nov. 16, and is slated to speak at a public luncheon at the Petroleum Club hosted by the MGA.

Article source: http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2015/10/14/lafayette-turns-sister-city-help-designing-central-park/73932118/