Studies to look at Lake Charles development, housing needs

(Source: Theresa Schmidt/KPLC)
(Source: Theresa Schmidt/KPLC)
(Source: Theresa Schmidt/KPLC)
(Source: Theresa Schmidt/KPLC)
(Source: KPLC)
(Source: KPLC)

Two major studies measuring regional impact and housing for the Lake Area during the projected $65 billion in economic growth have been announced.

The first study is the Southwest Louisiana Regional Impact study. It will focus on projected industrial, commercial and economic growth in the five-parish area and will be conducted by CSRS Inc., a Louisiana company that specializes in development planning.

Areas of concern include education, utilities, transportation, public safety and health, environment and workforce development. A final report is expected by May 2014.

The study is sponsored by Sasol and will be used by the Southwest Louisiana Task Force for Growth and Opportunity (GO Group).

The second study is the Southwest Louisiana Regional Housing Strategy. It will be conducted by CSRS. The study will help gauge the need for extra housing with the anticipated economic expansion.

The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance is sponsoring this housing study, which will consist of three phases that measure current market conditions, natural disaster guidelines, building methods and housing trends.

Travis Woodard, a representative with CSRS, said that many interviews will be conducted as they work to complete the study, which aims to provide a timeline of the upcoming development, including when the peak need for housing will occur.

This study will be co-funded by the Alliance and the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development-Disaster Recovery Unit, through the Community Development Block Grant Program.

George Swift, President/CEO of the Alliance said, "The Alliance is excited to begin the SWLA Regional Housing Strategy. We believe it will benefit the region in many ways and provide the community a guide to a successful future."

Calcasieu Parish Police Juror Hal McMillin, Chairman of the GO Group, said, "Sasol is making an incredible investment in our community by partnering with the GO Group effort and funding a comprehensive study to improve the quality of life in our region for the foreseeable future."

"Public officials at all levels must own the responsibility for implementing the improvements needed to prepare for upcoming growth, and we will. This is a unique opportunity for us as public officials to get it right, and failure to do so is not an option," McMillin said.

Also in attendance at the Wednesday meeting at the SEED Center were Michael Hayes with Sasol North America, David Connor with the Alliance, Hal McMillian with the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and the Go Group, Mayor Randy Roach with the City of Lake Charles and Mayor Chris Duncan with the City of Sulphur.

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