Moving Forward Archive
Building St. Landry is a Group Effort
A team pulling together can accomplish much more than an individual or an agency working alone.
Bill Rodier, SLED Executive Director
Collaboration and cooperation are key ingredients to the success of St. Landry Parish economic development and joint efforts between government agencies, community organizations, and parish businesses are helping the parish move forward at a steady pace, according to Bill Rodier, executive director of the parish’s economic development organization.
A “We’re Moving Forward” branding campaign announced in August emphasizes that collaboration, but that is not the whole story, Rodier points out.
For example, his organization is working with communities throughout the parish to identify and enhance prospective development sites, other agencies to promote every aspect of the parish, and individual businesses to help them grow.
“We are doing significant work on using taxing districts to help communities upgrade infrastructure capacity along the major I-49 exits,” he says. “The communities of Grand Coteau, Port Barre, Washington, and Opelousas have all been part of these discussions on how these kinds of tools can be used to generate funds for infrastructure. We currently have active development project plans underway at four of the major interchanges on the I-49 corridor. Each of these developments incorporates a large development creating numerous new business opportunities.”
Additionally, collaboration with Port Barre’s leaders has helped to identify that community as one of five in Acadiana that will participate in a pilot planning program offered through the Acadiana Planning Commission. Similarly, Eunice is moving forward to update its comprehensive development plan.
Rodier said collaborations such as these are bringing a “more targeted emphasis” in identifying quality sites, and also helping to find property owners who are willing to consider a sale or an option to sell.
“The focus is to develop industrial sites in the parish to a ‘shovel ready’ status” so that
industrial prospects will find needed infrastructure in place and can move quickly to get business moving in St. Landry.
One of the key items of collaboration with the St. Landry Chamber of Commerce is formulation of a capital outlay request for the next legislative session. Economic development also works with the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission “to regularly collaborate on regional and state priorities important to the cultural economy of our parish,” he said. As an example, he notes that Ardyn Company has completed a business plan focusing on the cultural economy of Arnaudville with an emphasis on the alternative usage of St Luke’s Hospital.
Rodier says bringing new business to St. Landry is a key element in developing the parish economy, but expansion and development of existing businesses is also vitally important.
To that end, economic developers maintain regular communication with businesses such as the Wal-Mart distribution center, Alon refinery in Krotz Springs, Savoie’s, Tony Chachere’s, Bayou State Lumber, Cal-Chlor, Riceland Crawfish. International Snubbing Services (ISS), Sunland Construction, Ventura Foods, Dominique Stock Yards, Dixie Storage, Noble Plastics, Sterling Automotive Group, Giles Automotive Group, and Opelousas General Medical Center, and others.
On a regional basis, St. Landry Parish leaders work with groups such as One Acadiana and the Acadiana Planning Commission to promote and develop the region as a whole.
“A team pulling together can accomplish much more than an individual or an agency working alone,” Rodier said. “That’s what the ‘We’re Moving Forward’ campaign is all about—but it is also what a host of St. Landry business and community leaders are realizing more and more every day.
“There are great opportunities in St. Landry and all of Acadiana, and we are all winners when we work together to showcase and develop all that we have to offer,” he said.
Opelousas, LA 5367I