Mayors Challenge Finalist: Lafayette (Video, Vote)

Idea Summary: Level Up, Lafayette! bridges the "engagement gap" by encouraging residents to play community enrichment games in which winning outcomes translate into tangible improvements for residents of Lafayette. Click here to vote for this idea.

Over the years, Lafayette has built a strong culture of innovation, and the Mayors Challenge finalist recognition was another example of our community's innovative spirit.

Our idea? Lafayette residents will generate epic wins by creating and playing community enrichment games that will define awe-inspiring, quality-of-life-improving goals, missions and achievements for all of Lafayette. The game (we also call it a platform) is called Level Up, Lafayette!, and it will bridge the "engagement gap" through a series of targeted games.

The idea itself leverages our community pride, strengthens it, and turns it into concrete, good, measurable outcomes for Lafayette. And it is just what our community is all about. We take pride in our victories and are willing to step up and do things to improve our community. From the spirit we demonstrated by coming together and voting to earn the "Best Festival" designation and the "Tastiest Town" title (from Southern Living), there is a positive momentum in Lafayette that I believe we must utilize for our continued success.

There are already many examples of various games across the country helping to improve communities. Lafayette's idea builds on those successes to develop a platform of multiple games that together create meaningful change. The games will be designed around goals we set for ourselves as a community in our Comprehensive Plan. That is our innovation, and it was built like so many great innovations are, by layering one good idea on top of another.

History of Innovation

In Lafayette's past, the stories of our successful history of entrepreneurism and self-reliance rise to the top. Our forefathers decided to build roads to neighboring communities, charting the course for our development as the "Hub City." Then we formed LUS (Lafayette Utilities System) which brought electricity to Lafayette years earlier than those around us. And LUS Fiber was our most recent initiative, a project which set the course for our future by ensuring Lafayette could compete in a global marketplace by bringing Fiber connectivity to every home and business in our city.

Recently, the Fiber to the Home Council highlighted Lafayette's success. It tells the inspiring story of LUS Fiber and honors our community's longstanding tradition of self-reliance and innovation.

Ambassadors of Progress

Several months ago, I was asked by the Huffington Post to blog about the "power and promise" of local government.

It was that same theme that drew me to apply for the Mayors Challenge. As mayor, a lot of mail comes across my desk, and it was the optimism and enthusiasm of the Mayors Challenge --that we at the local government level are best-positioned to solve our country's problems--that motivated me to pursue this opportunity. Lafayette, with our long history of successful risk-taking and innovations, could develop the next great innovation for cities across the country. It was an opportunity that fit perfectly with who we are in Lafayette and why I ran for Mayor in the first place.

Innovation with an Accent

About one year ago, Lafayette Consolidated Government unveiled a new logo and new tagline. The tagline which encapsulates our community and seems almost prophetic today is "Innovation with an Accent."

I can think of few better phrases that capture who we are as a community and give us something to which to aspire. I believe in the power of local government. Innovation and positive change in our country begin at home.


This post is an entry in the Mayors Challenge Fan Favorite Selection, a partnership between The Huffington Post and Bloomberg Philanthropies that allows readers to vote on their favorite idea among the 20 Mayors Challenge finalists. The Mayors Challenge is a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. To view the ideas from the 20 finalists, click the grid below -- and then vote for your favorite here! And follow the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #MayorsChallenge.

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