Go Group: getting ready for economic development boom - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Go Group: Getting ready for economic development boom

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

At this point they call it the "Go Group" for short. That's the working name for the Southwest Louisiana Task Force for Growth and Opportunity. It's still in the formative stage but the aim is to get ready for the tremendous economic growth in our future.

When Sasol expands -- where will they get all the workers? What will the workers do for housing?  What about workers for other projects? Is the infrastructure in place adequate?

There are many issues to deal with as Southwest Louisiana plans for a future with growth and development not seen in decades.  A task force has formed. Though it's just getting started, the idea is to help come up with all the questions to help those who will need to find the solutions.    

Parish Administrator Bryan Beam is heading up the group right now. "Transportation, traffic, with thousands of construction workers your talking about impacts to schools, health care facilities. The work force needs are just out of this world. The impacts are going to be at a level we've really never experienced, at least in many decades. So, a special planning effort, we felt, was required," said Beam.

It's more of a brainstorming group not intended to replace or take care of duties that are the responsibility of various local governments or agencies. Beam compares the effort to how officials come together in a hurricane -- except it's a good storm approaching. "It's more of a coordinating effort. If you look at how we respond to hurricanes for example, now that's a different situation, but the same concept. You have a core executive group that meets and plans for contingencies. This is a different thing, much more positive, but the concept actually has a lot of similarities," said Beam.

Beam says it's hoped that a coordinated effort now will help the area meet the needs of business, industries, workers and all affected by the coming future growth.

Sasol's gas to liquids project is expected to create more than 7,000 direct and indirect jobs as well as about 7,000 construction jobs. Hiring for the GTL and Ethane Cracker facilities are to begin in 2014.

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