Northside Residents Voice Strong Opposition to Lafayette Consolidated Government Jailhouse Proposal for Willow Street
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - Residents on the northside had strong words for Lafayette Consolidated Government at a town hall meeting Tuesday night.
Those in attendance were strongly opposed to an LCG proposal to build a new jailhouse just off W. Willow Street. That proposal, those residents claimed, would be damaging to efforts to "change the environment" of the area.
KADN News 15 in Lafayette reports that residents and community leaders spoke out against the proposal.
"There has been no consultation with community leaders. No consultation with residents. No con land developers or the school board. No consultation with faith-based leaders, we were told," says St. Anthony Catholic Church Reverend Richard Andrus.
Lafayette Consolidated Government says the downtown jail is outdated and needs renovations, but residents believe this would be a bad look to children in the community.
"We are trying to change their environment, we are trying to give them something different to look forward too," says one resident.
Within half a mile of an elementary school, a church, and majority-black residential communities.
The new jail is set to come about after four local businesses were selected for a public-private partnership with LCG. The plan is to build a new jail and juvenile detention home on West Willow, according to The Advocate.
The problem for community leaders is that such a location could fuel negative perceptions about the negative about the northside and, they worry, as a "pipeline" from schoolhouse to jailhouse, according to KLFY.
“We have to fight, and I know that it can be done, and I know that it will be done if we come together and get as many people behind this campaign and this effort it’s possible," said Consuela Gaines, with Lafayette V.O.T.E. "We will prevent that jail from being built on Willow, and hopefully, we’ll prevent that jail from building built, period."
"We are not just going to allow the powers that be say this is the way that it is going to be," she added.