LAKE CHARLES, La. — Today, Gonzales, Ruston and Amite were named Louisiana Development Ready Communities in a ceremony at the Louisiana Municipal Association’s 81st Annual Convention. Mayors Barney Arceneaux of Gonzales, Buddy Bel of Amite and Ronny Walker of Ruston accepted the awards during an LMA luncheon at the Lake Charles Civic Center.
Now in its 10th year, the Louisiana Development Ready Communities Program guides selected communities through the creation and implementation of a strategic plan. By following the plan for multiple years, LDRC participants become more competitive in attracting growth to their communities.
“When our local communities can prepare themselves for economic growth, we become more competitive for attracting new business investment and quality jobs to our state,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “By focusing on strategies for education, workforce development, infrastructure, leadership and communications, participants in the Louisiana Development Ready Communities Program can create a blueprint for a more prosperous future.”
The addition of Gonzales, Ruston and Amite brings to 40 the number of Louisiana municipalities that have earned the LDRC designation. Communities completing the program so far range from Bernice (population 1,655) in Union Parish to Houma (population 33,707) in Terrebonne Parish. Two communities began the program this summer and could be certified later this year, and several others across the state are expected to participate in 2019.
The program encourages municipalities to devise and implement a written plan to leverage assets and address their particular challenges. A typical community plan includes strategies to address education, workforce development, infrastructure, leadership, marketing and communications.
The process enables participating communities to chart their progress from year to year, even across changes in political administrations. Once a municipality is accepted into the program, it must implement six elements of its plan within a year.
For more information about the LDRC Program, visit the LED website or contact LED Director of Community Competitiveness Stacey Neal at [email protected] or 225.342.4703.