Eight Communities Selected For Phase II of LED's Louisiana D

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Louisiana Economic Development recently selected eight communities to participate in phase II of the Louisiana Development Ready Communities pilot program. The 12-month program will help prepare each community to effectively compete with out-of-state communities for good jobs, business development projects and capital investment.
"Upon completion of phase I and phase II of the pilot program, 20 communities in Louisiana will have cultivated the resources and tools they need to succeed, creating increased potential for a better quality of life for their citizens," said LED Secretary Stephen Moret. "That is a significant achievement, and LED will continue to work with our local partners to strengthen the competitiveness of our communities."
The eight communities selected to participate in phase II of the pilot program are Covington, Eunice, Farmerville, Grambling, Gretna, Natchitoches, New Roads and St. Martinville.
During the second week of May, each community will be introduced to its resource team of experienced community and economic development professionals, receive resources and preliminary training, as well as begin the community assessment phase of the program.
Each community's application was scored on the following criteria: completeness of application, a resolution by the governing body to support the program, a description of the community's previous and current community and economic development experience, letters of support from local and state leaders, and overall commitment to the aggressive pilot program schedule.
The communities were then reviewed through a competitive process led by the Louisiana Development Ready Communities selection committee, which includes representatives from utility companies, Louisiana Association of Planning Districts, Institute for Economic Development and Real Estate Research at the University of New Orleans, and LED.
In October 2009, LED launched phase I of the pilot program, selecting 12 communities around the state: Arcadia; Crowley; DeRidder; Houma; Jena; Mansfield with Grand Cane, Logansport and Stonewall; New Iberia; Pineville; Slidell; Vivian; West Monroe; and Zachary.
With support provided by LED and economic development professionals, the 12 communities are completing the program's four-part process, as well as implementing their strategic economic development plans.
"Participating in the Louisiana Development Ready Communities program has forced us to measure our strengths and our weaknesses," said Mayor of DeRidder Ron Roberts. "We now have 97 volunteers helping us develop our brand. Without this program, it would never have happened."
"New Iberia has gained a greater prospect for economic competitiveness and an improved ability to help retain and expand existing businesses," said New Iberia Mayor Hilda Curry. "Upon completion of LED's comprehensive strategy, the city of New Iberia will be ready to attract large-scale economic development activity."
LED's program partners include Entergy, CLECO, Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives, AEP/Southwestern Electric Power Company, University of New Orleans, Louisiana Municipal Association, Police Jury Association of Louisiana and LSU/SU Extension Services.


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