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Auburn University students to help city with proposed park

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LaFayette will be getting a helping hand from students at Auburn University this spring in designing the city’s recreational plan. Elise Cormie, an incoming adjunct professor at Auburn, talked to the City Council about the program at their final meeting of 2014 last week.

Cormie is a landscape architect from the Atlanta firm Smart Landscapes, and she told the council that she would like for one of her classes to work with the city in building upon plans to develop a 52-acre plot of land the city had purchased to use for recreation. Cormie was referred to LaFayette by Charlene LeBleu, an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Auburn’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. LeBleu works with several Alabama municipalities on green infrastructure plans and improvements, and had developed a rough site plan for LaFayette.

Cormie and her 14-student class will build upon those initial ideas to help LaFayette create a recreation plan. “The idea is that the students want to apply their creativity and their thinking to that 52-acres and take that initial idea a little bit further,” Cormie said. “But also in with talking with (City Clerk) Louis Davidson and (Councilman) Mike Ellis, it became clear that LaFayette might need something a little bit larger to develop, maybe a recreation plan with specific ideas about certain elements of that plan.”

The mayor and council were in support of the plan and discussed areas the class could address. Councilwoman Tammie Williams noted that a walking trail was particularly of importance in the planning. Cormie noted the possibility of connecting parts of the city, including the old city park and the new city park as part of the plan, along with addressing the need for athletic fields.

Councilman David Ennis added that development of the 52-acre plot should be a top priority right now, and tying other parts of the city together in the plan could come later.

Costs were also an important part of the discussion with Cormie. “It would be nice to see what is the ideal situation, and then look it in terms of phases and costs and we can pick and choose what is best,” Ennis said.

Mayor Barry Moody reiterated that any plans need to have costs associated with them, which would make it easier to balance need with financial requirements and apply for grants. Moody also recommended that initially Cormie work with the council and the city’s recreational committee starting the program and that down the line there could be a public forum where any LaFayette resident who wanted to offer input could do so.

Cormie said she would be back in touch with the council about getting started.

*For full story see this week’s print edition of The Sun.

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