Louisiana Economic Development selected 12 communities across the state, among which are New Iberia and Crowley, to complete an intensive six-month pilot program that will help prepare each one of them for competition with out-of-state communities for good jobs, business development projects and capital investment.
“This program represents the next step in our efforts to enhance the competitiveness of our local communities,” says LED Secretary Stephen Moret. “By equipping these 12 communities with the resources they need to compete at the local and national level, we are helping them become better places in which to live, work and do business.”
The 12 communities chosen for the Louisiana Development Ready Communities pilot program are: Arcadia, Northwest Region; Crowley, Acadiana Region; DeRidder, Southwest Region; Houma, Bayou Region; Jena, Central Region; Mansfield with Grand Cane, Logansport and Stonewall, Northwest Region; New Iberia, Acadiana Region; Pineville, Central Region; Slidell, Southeast Region; Vivian, Northwest Region; West Monroe, Northeast Region; and Zachary, Capital Region.
During the first week of October, each community is being introduced to its resource team of experienced community and economic development professionals. They are also receiving resources and preliminary training, along with beginning the community assessment phase of the program.
“The state has demonstrated its commitment to enhancing economic development at the local level,” said Tom Ed McHugh, executive director of Louisiana Municipal Association. “Our partners at LED have aggressively promoted community development and invested heavily in a system that will help Louisiana’s communities become more competitive.”
Twenty-five communities applied for the pilot program. Each community’s application was scored on completeness of application, a resolution by the governing body to support the program, a description of the community’s previous and current community and economic development experience, letters of support from local and state leaders and overall commitment to the aggressive pilot program schedule.
The communities were then reviewed through a competitive process led by the Louisiana Development Ready Communities selection committee, which includes representatives from utility companies, Louisiana Association of Planning Districts, Institute for Economic Development and Real Estate Research at UNO and LED.
In August, LED launched the Louisiana Development Ready Communities program as an extension of its Web-based resource, LouisianaCommunityNetwork.com.