LEESVILLE, LA (KPLC) - For the first time in decades, the City of Leesville has seen a population increase.
"We had to turn our city around and be the kind of city people want to live in," said Mayor of Leesville, Robert Rose.
The city's population has grown by 3% after a 30 year decline, according to US Census Bureau's 2012 Population Estimates.
"For many cities that wouldn't be remarkable, but you have to understand that our city has declined every decade from 1980 to 2010," said Rose.
Part of Leesville's population growth has to do with the changing of the downtown area. Rose says more businesses are putting money into the area.
"I moved back home after school in 2006 and since then almost every building downtown has become occupied," said Wayne Bush.
Another goal is for Fort Polk and Leesville to be considered one place and not separated. Rose said he wants to fill in the land between them with new developments.
"We're seeing new businesses come in interested, and asking where the new growth is going to be," said Rose.
Rose said while it took some time for the city to be desirable to live, he said the forecasted 3% growth is just the beginning for this up and coming city.
The city also recently adopted a strategic plan for growth.