The Rayne “Community Visioning Session”, which only saw about a dozen interested citizens in attendance, made up for in ideas and foreseeable future projects, basically making a cultural and arts economic master plan not just for Rayne, but for the entire parish.
Unique Rayne items brought forth by the group included the ongoing frog projects, nationally-recognized RV Park, St. Joseph’s Cemetery, historic downtown area, number of bed and breakfast sites, presentation of the state’s Cleanest City and other projects the city is proud of.
With the existing Rayne attractions presented, the group then presented a number of events and projects they would like to see the city have in the near future, including a community unifying building for all age groups, downtown restaurants/coffee shops as gathering places, art/crafts gallery, indoor music venues for all ages, water/splash park, in addition to culinary projects.
The group also touched on an education aspect when discussing foreseeable projects, including after-school youth programs, senior events center, community garden/restaurant combo, arts council/gallery and other community development programs that offer a learning experience while enjoying the company of all ages.
Other popular hobbies brought up during the session that could provide an additional link to what is missing for Acadia Parish are waterway activities, including kayaking and fishing to name a few.
Bike paths were also offered as another opportunity for cities to interlink and provide a parish-wide activity for shopping, tourism and an additional connection between Acadia Parish cities.
As noted by project contact Laurie Suire, “Creative Placemaking, simply put, is taking spaces and turning them into places for human interaction. Festivals, grassy areas with art and music, a business that invites people for coffee and French speaking on a Saturday morning – these are just a few examples of Creative Placemaking that attract people to an area. People come, sales happen, businesses open, jobs are created, and pride in your community flourishes.”
Community Partners have collaborated to create a Cultural & Arts Economic Master Plan for Acadia Parish. Through the sessions, the communities in Acadia Parish are being asked to share what they love here and what they would like to see.
“Your voice, your visions, your plans” was the theme for the morning session, with the group emphasizing what “will” occur in Rayne, not what is wanted for the community as noted by session presenters Alex Holland, lead community planner, and Zachary Mannheimer, principal community planner, both with the McClure Engineering Co..
The two-day program also saw Suire, Holland and Mannheimer have sessions in Crowley, Church Point, Iota and Estherwood (5th Ward).
A kickoff dinner was held Wednesday, Aug. 1, at The Grand Opera House where a large crowd learned how the concept of Creative Placemaking can enhance he quality of life and result in economic prosperity for the parish.
The audience was given examples of success stories from across the country, explaining how informaion attained from the two days of sessions will provide the information needed to develop the parish’s master plan.
Funding for the development of the master plan was from a variety of sources, including $45,000 in grant money from the Delta Regional Authority.
Other sponsors include the Acadia Parish Police Jury, Acadia Parish School Board, Acadia Parish Tourist Commission, Chamber of Commerce, Acadia General Hospital, COX Communications, SLEMCO, Grand Opera House, Rotary Club of Crowley, Cadien Toujours, Rayne Building and Loan, the former OneAcadia and a private trust.
From the sessions held throughout Acadia Parish, a cultural and arts economic master plan for Acadia Parish will be created and presented by Mannheimer and Holland.