City encouraging community development input

By By Justin Phillips / American Press

In early March, Lake Charles city officials hosted two community forums to gather residents’ input on city priorities like

housing and community development.

The department even invited a consultant, James Gilleylen from J-QUAD Planning Group, to talk with residents and explain the

process. The turnout for the meetings was small compared with that of meetings held in October. But the goal of spreading

the information into the community was accomplished.

One of the main points of the community forums was to get people to fill out surveys about the needs within their neighborhoods

— ranking, on a scale of most to least important, the things that need to be addressed in specific areas of the city.

Esther Vincent, director of the Community Services Department, said residents who haven’t filled out the surveys should do

so soon. “They’re a crucial part of this entire process,” she said.

The survey dives into specific categories. Residents can place an “H” for high priority or “L” for low priority next to items

on a list of community needs — homeownership assistance, rental housing repair, libraries, youth centers.

With the May 1 deadline to fill out the surveys and voice opinions fast approaching, the number of participants to date has

been low. Once the time period to fill out the surveys passes, the decisions on the needs of local communities will still

be made by the department.

Vincent said the whole reason behind the surveys is to get the most accurate account of the needs that should be addressed

in those areas.

“It’s just really important that we get

input from the community. I can’t emphasize that enough,” Vincent said.

“This information

lets us know what the citizens in these communities need.”

The surveys can be obtained by visiting www.cityoflakecharles.com or by visiting City Hall.