Highway cleanup first step for Central St. Landry district

Sunday, March 04, 2018

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“These projects will make us even more attractive to businesses interested in locating along Louisiana’s major north-south highway and will help bring new customers and clients to those who are already here,” Rodier said.


A dozen light poles that have been knocked down over the years have been removed as the first step toward better maintenance of the I-49 median in Opelousas. The project is the first step in a plan by the Central St. Landry Economic Development District to make the area more attractive to businesses.

“This is a significant initial step with the Central St Landry EDD in improving the business climate along the I-49 through the core of the parish,” according to Bill Rodier, St. Landry economic development director. “It is just a prelude to a lot of good things to come.”

The district will take over maintenance of the corridor between Harry Guilbeau Road and U.S. 190, according to Frank “Buddy” Helton, chairman of the district’s governing board. Under the new program, the median will be mowed 16 times a year and trash will be picked up 18 times annually. That’s about twice as often as before.

The new Central St. Landry district extends the boundaries of the Harry Guilbeau district that was created in the fall of 2014 to include prime commercial sites along the I-49 corridor.

In addition to making the roadway more attractive, plans have begun to make important infrastructure upgrades that will make properties in the corridor more competitive as businesses look for prime locations, Helton said.

He said development within the district will create opportunities like those experienced in in nearby towns such as Carencro, Scott, Broussard, New Iberia and such as the Louisiana Avenue development in Lafayette.

Planning has also begun for projects “focused around supporting the building that is already happening on both sides of I-49 on the south end of the district and developing the master plan for the north side,” according to Rodier. Developers and engineers are “looking at many infrastructure needs,” including water and wastewater capacity, service and connecting roads, drainage and communications upgrades, he said.

More than twenty new business prospects are actively looking at sites in St. Landry, many of them on or near I-49, according to St. Landry economic development data.

“These projects will make us even more attractive to businesses interested in locating along Louisiana’s major north-south highway and will help bring new customers and clients to those who are already here,” Rodier said.

“That translates into jobs for local workers, new money in the local economy, and into the ability to be sure that all of this is done using ‘smart growth’ principles.” he said. “I think very soon you will see the infrastructure [in that area] looking a lot different.”

A new Nissan of Opelousas car dealership is nearing completion at the Harry Guilbeau interchange and proposed minority-owned Honda dealership is planned nearby. Brown’s furniture outlet has also announced a “megastore” that will consolidate the Lafayette and Opelousas stores into one facility also in that area, and there are plans to expand the south campus of Opelousas General Medical Center into a major cancer treatment center.

Three things to know about this story:

  1. The project is the first step in a plan by the Central St. Landry Economic Development District to make the area more attractive to businesses.
  2. Improvements within the district will create opportunities like those experienced in in nearby towns such as Carencro, Scott, Broussard, New Iberia.
  3. More than twenty new business prospects are actively looking at sites in St. Landry, many of them on or near I-49.

 

 

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