Moncus Park, the space that hosts the Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market Saturday mornings and is often referred to as The Horse Farm, is undergoing a yearlong transformation on its 100 acres. Park Executive Director Elizabeth “EB” Brooks said the vision for the park’s revamp came straight from the community, and construction will continue into March 2019.
“The vision for the master plan for Moncus Park was developed by the community through a series of public workshops and online surveys,” said Brooks. “Landmark parks and the various elements within them were highlighted from across the country and around the globe to help gauge the public’s interest in having similar elements or aesthetics in Moncus Park.”
Parks such as Audubon Park and City Park in New Orleans; Shangri La Botanic Gardens in Orange, Texas; and Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas lent inspiration for the park. According to Brooks, Moncus Park will feature an off-leash dog park, a beautiful wetland pond, many garden areas, an expansive lawn and pathways for running or walking.
Although access to the park is currently limited beyond the Coulee Mine, and despite the safety fencing, regularly scheduled Farmers’ Markets will commence in the summer on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., but no other spring or summer events are on schedule due to the construction site overtaking the space usually reserved for public events.
On the bright side, after construction, the park will eventually be more accessible, and its features will include new attractions that utilize its ample space.
“Several improvements for access will also be completed, including a two-way entrance off of Johnston Street, sidewalks, a new two-way bridge over the Coulee Mine, and a parking lot,” said Brooks. “The next phase of work will include the Farmers Market pavilion, mini-golf, the amphitheater, and treehouses, with construction set to begin in 2019.”
Moncus Park will remain a passive park — a park without an organized sports field such as soccer fields, baseball diamonds and tennis courts.
“Lafayette is underserved in park space acreage compared to national averages, especially when it comes to green spaces that are ‘passive’ and not dedicated to sport. For this reason, Moncus Park was always intended to be a 100-acre ‘passive’ park and will never feature permanent sports fields, and instead focuses on beautiful natural spaces that can be enjoyed any day of the week by all sorts of individuals and families,” said Brooks.
The areas outside of the current construction zone will go under construction at a future date to be determined.