Last Modified: Sunday, October 21, 2012 6:11 PMCalcasieu Parish officials have focused more on providing adequate infrastructure and utilities for residents in Ward 1, an area that has steadily grown over the last few decades.
District 1 Police Juror Shannon Spell represents part of Ward 1, which includes Moss Bluff and Gillis. He said the growth “has put a strain on infrastructure in that community.”
“In my opinion, the infrastructure has not kept up with that growth,” Spell said.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the population of Ward 1 went from 10,126 in 1980 to 19,428 in 2010. The Moss Bluff-Gillis area grew by 57 percent between 1990 and 2000 — which Bryan Beam, the parish’s administrator, said was more than any other unincorporated area of the parish.
“A lot of folks want to live there, but they experience the challenge that comes with growth,” he said. “We’re seeing more and more of those types of problems. It’s very much akin to a city even though they remain unincorporated.”
Since 1994, Ward 1 has seen continued permits for new residences, manufactured homes and commercial/light industrial. Ward 1 has also seen an average of nearly four subdivisions accepted each year from 1994 through 2011.
Spell said the Police Jury and the parish’s special service districts within Ward 1 have worked for several years to prepare communities for growth.
“In the past, things were more reactive (than) proactive,” he said. “Services across the board have had to grow into new responsibilities. We’re behind, but we’re taking strides to accomplish that goal.”
One recent effort is the new bridge on North Perkins Ferry Road, which opened in July. It is part of a three-phase project to improve drainage for neighborhoods in the area. Spell said it took three years before work began on the project.
“Sometimes it’s slow going, but if you have a plan and you stick to it, you can make a difference,” he said.
Spell said Community Center and Playground District 4 of Ward 1 is looking to expand its recreation facilities, instead of just maintaining them.
Spell said Fire Protection District 1 of Ward 1 has two full-time-staffed fire stations in Moss Bluff, along with several satellite stations. He said these facilities help maintain insurance ratings and will hopefully improve them over time.
Spell said the Waterworks District in Ward 1 has grown from simply distributing water to homes to providing fire hydrants and supplying for fire protection.
Spell said Ward 1 is not the only area in the parish that will experience growing pains.
“The problems we’re having now will occur in Carlyss, south Lake Charles and LeBleu Settlement,” he said. “All these communities are different, but they all have a lot in common when it comes to infrastructure and growth and keeping up with those issues.”
Spell said the “big missing link” to encouraging businesses to invest in those areas is sewer.
“You’re not only dealing with public safety, but also economic development,” he said. “We’re getting to a point where your unincorporated areas are urbanizing. There’s water, fire protection and drainage in most areas, but sewer is not.”
Joe Kennison has lived in Moss Bluff since 1998. While he initially moved there with his wife to be closer to her family, he said they have stayed largely because the area still feels like a “bedroom community.”
“It’s quiet; it has that country feel, but it is still close enough to town,” Kennison said. “A lot of our closest friends are our neighbors.”
Pam Dibbley moved into a home on 40 acres in Moss Bluff in 1978. She said she has embraced the growth and the improved services that come along with it.
“When we moved, it was dirt roads and gravel,” Dibbley said. “Now it’s all paved; that’s been a blessing.”
Dibbley said the infrastructure has made travel within Ward 1 easier.
“Back then, you couldn’t get from one place to another rationally,” she said. “The subdivisions were placed anywhere, and infrastructure wasn’t there. There’s a handle on it now.”
Dibbley said the schools in Ward 1 provided a high-quality education for her children and are a big reason people move into the community.
Kennison said he believes officials who represent Ward 1 have kept up with the growing population over the years.
“There’s been some bumps in the road, but that’s to be expected,” he said. “The North Perkins (bridge project) was a little bit of an inconvenience, but obviously it was a necessity for people who needed drainage.”
Even with the growth, Kennison said the area has not seen many chain restaurants. He said this is because Ward 1 is not tied in with municipal sewer systems and that companies don’t want to invest in water treatment facilities.
“It would be nice to have those restaurants here, instead of us having to drive into town,” he said. “But it’s a small price to pay to live in a quiet community.”
Posted By: Andrew S. On: 10/25/2012
And I'm not the other two, so your way of looking up IP addresses must be flawed.
Posted By: Which One Am I On: 10/24/2012
ANd tell us how you know this Mr. Anderson. That is given the fact that I can confirm I posted as one of these mentioned. Now, can you tell me which one I am?
So please, share your means of knowing how these postings came from the same person. If you get it right, perhaps the others will support your thoughts and ideals as well. Get it wrong though and you just prove that you're not the intellect you assume you are.
Posted By: Jeffery Anderson On: 10/23/2012
Title: PQ, NO and Andrew S.
While the three comments may appear to be the point of 3 posters, they should be aware that there is a simple way to look at the IP addresses on here and it's funny the same person must have 3 personalities or either 3 people in the same household all think alike and all felt the need to post, LOL!! nice one
Posted By: Andrew S. On: 10/22/2012
I think Moss Bluff has grown enough that the City of Lake Charles should start looking north towards annexation. Parts of that community could be annexed at a time, piece by piece, until the whole place is part of the city. This would lead to greater population growth for the city, which means more property taxes, higher land values, and ultimately a higher quality of life.
Posted By: NO! To Supporting Moss Bluff On: 10/22/2012
Title: Agree and Disagree
P.Q. - I for one totally agree with you in not spending my tax dollars to support the Moss Bluff district. They tend to want everything paid for by the rest of the incorporated areas in the parish. It's about time they made their own decision to either incoporate and support themselves, or get ready to find another "free train" to ride.
Jeffery Anderson - Being from the New Orleans area, I can tell you that Metairie, LA. is also a community of "free-loaders" and "free-grazers"; just as a large portion of the population of Moss Bluff. And by the way, the New Orleans/Jefferson Parish area(s) have the worst school system and infrastructure in the state; highest crime rate per capita in the nation, and more corruption than Washington, D.C. And based on the increase in crime in Moss Bluff over the recent years, I'd say Moss Bluff is headed that way. So I disagree with your idea that Metairie is the best example. In fact, I'd say your idea rides on the socialistic heals of the Democrats in Washington and Calcasieu Parish.
Posted By: P.Q. On: 10/21/2012
How does the rest of the parish raise the taxes in Ward 1 so that the rest of the parish is not footing the bill for their "amenities" that stems from their unwillingness to take care of themselves.My tax dollars should not be spent up there making their tax district better while taking money from other districts.
Posted By: Jeffery Anderson On: 10/21/2012
Title: Leave MB the way it is
My elected police jury officials. I am a Moss Bluff resident. I know this is not on the agenda but when one talks about growth it inevitably will come up. Please defend any efforts to incorporate this community. I like everyone that I personally know that lives in Moss Bluff chose Moss Bluff for a reason. That reason is we DO NOT want to live inside the city limits. We like our rural "atmosphere" with our amenities at our finger tips right here in MB. We go into Lake Charles when we need to. ANY incorporation of MB will go against all that the residents of MB moved there seeking. Then you'll have a bunch of vacant properties because we'll be forced to move to Lebleu. If in doubt it CAN work look at Metarie, LA they are an unincorporated "community" of 150,000 with no plans to incorporate. We love our parish govt here and do not want anything different which is WHY we live here. Thank you for listening.