Louisiana Development Ready Communities Program

Ruston, Louisiana
Louisiana Development Ready Communities Program

The Louisiana Development Ready Communities (LDRC) Program encourages and supports selected Louisiana communities to become development ready, competitive and “open for business” by creating and implementing a strategic community and economic development plan. In 2009 and 2010, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) selected 19 Communities to participate in the LDRC Pilot Program. The Louisiana Development Ready Community program was officially launched in 2011 with 8 communities. These municipalities are all more competitive because they have a written plan describing how they are going to leverage assets and address challenges. Additionally, they can show progress from year to year because of developed measurements identified in their plans; much like mile-markers on a roadmap.

Each community’s plan includes strategies to address education, workforce development, infrastructure, leadership, and marketing/communications. The communities are in the process of implementing their tactics. “The real success of this project lies in the communities’ implementation of the plan,” said Pat Witty, LED Director of Community Outreach Services. Each community must implement six elements of their plan by the end of the first year.

LED is moving forward to concentrate on sustainability issues and further refinements of the program. “We have learned so much about a how to make this process valuable to communities. It is important that we implement the lessons learned so far to further insure the sustainability of the program and its processes,” said Skip Smart, Director of Community Competitiveness at LED.


Benefits

LED supports the candidate communities and provides these unique benefits:

  • A Resource Team assigned to it that have years of experience in community and economic development. Each community will receive on-going coaching and professional guidance during the community assessment and facilitation of the strategic planning process.
  • “Roadmap to Readiness” books, clearly describing the process, resources and deliverables.
  • LED’s Business Intelligence Department will provide each selected community with a current economic and demographic base analysis saving hours and hours of looking for the most current data.
  • Ready-to-go, online Business and/or Citizen Surveys available for use with training/coaching on how to conduct a successful survey.
  • A Site Selection Consultant will visit communities as part of the community assessment process and will help evaluate sites and buildings as well as provide a chance to “test-drive” a sales pitch in a relaxed environment while getting valuable feedback.
  • LED representatives will visit with candidate communities and assist with strategic planning by more fully familiarizing the communities with the state’s Entertainment, Small Business, Business Retention and Expansion, Site Selection, Recruiting, and Incentive programs.
  • A publicized celebration of each community’s successes will be held to applaud and thank each for their partnership both with LED and their involved volunteers.

Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply to be a LDRC Community? Any municipality in Louisiana may apply.

This program is for Louisiana towns, villages and cities of all sizes. If a community just needs to update their plan, they will benefit from the structure of the program and the encouragement to move forward quickly with implementation. If a village or town has never done a strategic plan, the LDRC Resource Team will provide assistance all the way, from start to celebration! 

Communities are selected using a scorecard to insure fairness and objectivity. Applications must be filled out completely and include all requested information in order to score well. The number of municipalities selected for each year’s class is based upon the availability of resources to adequately support the program.

Communities selected to participate in the program have to agree to plan and implement essential best practice “development ready” elements on a tight schedule including:

  • Community Assessment
  • Community & Economic Strategic Plan includes:
    • Leadership Development
    • Education
    • Workforce Development
    • Infrastructure
    • Marketing / Communications
  • On-going Implementation

This is an aggressive program requiring significant work and investment by LED, its partners, and the participating communities.

A Steering Committee of dedicated stakeholders has been continually working with LED for the last five years and has devised a support methodology to see LDRC Communities through to the completion of all of the steps. These valued partners include the LMA, AEP/SWEPCO, ALEC, CLECO, Entergy, Dr. Ivan Miestchovich (University of New Orleans), Police Jury Association of Louisiana and LSU /SU Extension Services.

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