Centennial neighborhood’s big bet on itself
Residents in one of Lafayette’s oldest neighborhoods were so committed to preserving and rebuilding Centennial that they were willing to stake their personal savings on it. The bet keeps paying off.
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A week ago, Michael Hunt, relentless advocate of one of Lafayette’s oldest neighborhoods, checked in. The news: The Centennial Neighborhood Investment Group had closed the deal on another set of renovated properties, the third time a collection of neighbors had bet and won on the blocks just north of downtown Lafayette in the past decade or so, without a promise of a return beyond making Centennial a better place.
“See,” Hunt said. “I told you we could keep this going.”
In early 2021, as part of another freelance project, I wrote a history of the Centennial Neighborhood Investment Group and how it had challenged the city to help save one of the oldest neighborhoods in Lafayette – and how city hall had challenged the neighbors right back in a money-where-your-mouth-is partnership.
With the third deal coming together since 2010, now seems to be the right time to dust that off and tell the story about a small group of residents who were so committed to preserving and rebuilding it that they were willing to stake their personal savings on it. Here it is, updated with the latest developments.
There were no guarantees that night in August 2010, when 10 neighbors and business owners, checkbooks in hand, gathered in stuffed, antique chairs in the living room of Phyllis and Michael Hunt’s home and pondered a partnership with Lafayette city leaders.