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Go Group discusses potential road troubles

Last Modified: Thursday, August 08, 2013 11:24 AM

By John Guidroz / American Press

Identifying which road intersections need improvement within the region was one of several recommendations made during a meeting Tuesday with members of the Southwest Louisiana Task Force for Growth and Opportunity, or Go Group.

Jennifer Wallace, Calcasieu Parish assistant planning director, said the co-chairs of the group’s 10 appointed subcommittees met with the steering committee to discuss preparing for the challenges that are expected once several high-dollar industrial projects get underway. The Go Group formed after Sasol announced in December that it would spend nearly $21 billion to expand its Westlake facility.

The subcommittees focus on issues like workforce development, education, transportation, housing, utilities, environment, health, public safety, small-business development and community relations. The steering committee is made up of several municipalities within Calcasieu Parish.

“Some of the recommendations the steering committee are hearing are large-scale projects, but others can be done quickly to address the needs of the community,” Wallace said.

Wallace said Grant Bush, executive director of the Imperial Calcasieu Regional Planning and Development Commission, recommended finding ways to quickly acquire federal or state funding to improve certain roadways. Bush is a co-chair of the transportation subcommittee.

Gerald Hoffpauir, manager of Ward 1 Waterworks District 1 and co-chair of the utilities subcommittee, talked about notifying utility providers early on about the time and location of upcoming economic development projects.

Wallace said the providers can assess which utilities need to be enhanced. “It’s all a matter of coordinating everything for these companies so they have a smooth process coming here,” she said.

She said Adrian Wallace, co-chair of the small-business subcommittee, stressed the need to connect small businesses with the larger companies so they can assist one another.

“These large companies want to deal with local people,” she said. “But right now there’s a gap in that relationship where small businesses don’t know who to call and large businesses don’t know who can actually serve their needs.”

Jennifer Wallace said the community relations subcommittee suggested creating a campaign through a brochure or a website to remind residents of how the growth from these development projects could change their daily routines.

“The way we would envision it is that if it takes you 20 minutes to get to work now, you may need to leave 10 minutes early with the extra traffic,” she said. “The region wants jobs and development and forward progress, but we need to get the word out about what the growing pains could be.”

Wallace said people serving on the subcommittees include local experts who are volunteering their time to prepare for the challenges that come with economic growth.

“They need to be commended for working so hard for this effort and caring for the future of this region,” she said. “I think that we’re very fortunate to have community leaders and elected officials who are taking such a proactive position on this.”

Posted By: P.Q.W. On: 8/15/2013

Title: Volunteering is not sad

But what is sad that people in this town have to close an on ramp to the interstate because they can't figure it out, Nelson and 210. What is sad is when it took them decades to figure out how to be able to make a turn from Ryan st. So do you think these paid goverment officials can solve the traffic issues that are coming? Like I said, if people have to volunteer their time to solve issues that goverment officials get paid to do, something's wrong. Volunteering isn't sad, goverment officials that can't do their jobs are.

Posted By: Amie Herbert On: 8/12/2013

Title: Re: Volunteers?

P.Q.W., It tells me that there are people in this community who like to volunteer their time to contribute something towards a greater cause or a bigger picture. It tells me that this community has a lot of innovative and creative thinkers. It tells me that there are people in this community who want to be involved, who want to contribute their ideas and expertise, people who want to roll out the welcome mat for the new workers who will be coming into the area, and who are happy to volunteer to trouble-shoot problems that may face the community with these expansions. Perhaps you should attend a meeting, or volunteer your time (to Go Group or any other organization.) You might find that volunteering is nothing to be "sad" about.

Posted By: P.Q.W. On: 8/9/2013

Title: Volunteers?

We have people In government that get paid to solve these problems and it is sad people have to volunteer their time to do their jobs. What does that tell you?

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