Vision Calcasieu: Planning for the future

Vision Calcasieu -- it's something you'll be hearing a lot about in the coming weeks and months.  It's aimed at making the parish a better place in the years to come. Tonight Calcasieu Police Jurors got the ball rolling.

Dana Guidry is one parent who wants to see more recreation to improve quality of life for youth. "Things for the kids to do around here, not just your parks but you know, maybe a water park on a larger scale, activities that families can go to."

And no doubt citizens have many other ideas of what's needed to make Calcasieu Parish an ideal place to live in the years to come. But without a plan, things don't always get done, or get done right. So parish officials are kicking off Vision Calcasieu-- an initiative to develop a comprehensive plan and goals for Calcasieu Parish.

Police jurors appointed a 22 member citizen task force that will play a key role in the process as assistant administrator Bryan Beam explains. "We believe that this is a really stellar group of individuals who have agreed to serve you and that you will be very proud to have them represent the citizens on this task force. This is a project that is truly of generational impact. It's a visionary type thing where we're asking people to come out and try to define the type of Calcasieu that we all want to have."

Assistant planner Jennifer Wallace hopes people will really get involved. "We want them to tell us as a staff what they want to see. We'll take that and we'll put it all together in a plan. We'll have elements that include economic development, housing, land use, utilities, disaster preparedness, all sorts of good things that will guide the agencies for the future of Calcasieu."

Wallace says the plan will help decide how to spend funds, where to put infrastructure and perhaps even new schools, all aimed at giving Calcasieu a better, brighter the future.

The Vision Calcasieu task force will meet at 4:30 p.m. On February 12th in the Jean Lafitte room at the Lake Charles Civic Center.  At 6 p.m. they kick off the public involvement part of Vision Calcasieu with a big workshop.

Members of the new Citizens Task Force will work jointly with the parish's planning consultants and the police jury staff throughout the development and implementation of Vison Calcasieu.  They are as follows:

Jim McGough, representing Finance/Banking; Chad Thielen, Property Development; Derenda Grubb, Real Estate; Charles Vincent, Rural/Agriclture; Larry DeRoussel, Industry; Paul Clifton, Communications/Technology; Sharon Galicia and Mark Hanudel, representing Chamber/Small Business; Rev. Karl Klaus and Rev. Carlos Ross, Faith Based Community; Lisa Verrette, Non-Profit; Eligha Guillory, Healthcare; Rick Richard, Environmental; Daryl Burckel, McNeese; Andrea Miller, Sowela; Karl Bruchhaus, Calcasieu Parish School Board;  Mark Eckard, Workforce Investment Board (Chairman); At large members:  Terry Backhaus, Cade Cole, Sandy Gay, Lloyd Lauw and Nathan Taylor.  Each nominee has agreed to serve.