Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Monday, December 31, 2012 3:06 PM
The way Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach sees it, 2013 won’t start until he knows voters decided to allow him to govern the city for another four years.
For those people wondering, yes, Roach intends to campaign for a fourth term next spring. As much as he would like to focus conversations about the new year on specific municipal matters, he’s optimistic yet cautious during such discussions — in keeping with his nature — because he doesn’t know what the future holds.
Looking back over the past year, Roach surmises that millions of dollars in capital improvements in the downtown district, lakefront, northern and southern parts of the city possibly figured into major industrial expansions in Westlake and along the Calcasieu river channel.
Speaking of Sasol’s announced multi-billion expansion in Westlake, Roach noted that “the scope of that project will have a major economic impact on the whole region. The increase in the number of people working and those people needing homes and schools to attend is huge for us.”
As a result, Roach believes his administration — or any other — should keep the focus of municipal government in mind.
“In making sure we can handle the influx of business and people, the fundamentals of our government — which is infrastructure — are going to be important as they always are. We’ve laid down a lot of infrastructure, now we want to continue tweaking it,” he said.
In the past year, the Roach administration reached an agreement to sell the former Sears property for development; affirmed the location of the National Hurricane Museum and Science Center near the civic center; moved forward on a development agreement with Lake Charles Mardi Gras Boardwalk; began construction on the new City Court; opened the multi-use transit facility; began construction on Millennium Park; began construction on the children’s park; moved closer to completing the Ryan Street streetscape and even continued to stay ahead of a budget deficit due to increased public safety worker retirement benefits.
Roach knows next year the administration will have to implement controls over operations in order to make sure the city is on good financial footing.
“I wish we would have been able to avoid budget amendments this year to offset our budgeted deficit,” he said.
Administration officials hope that the long term capital investments -- overall the city has spent nearly $90 million -- made in Lake Charles will lead to more business development and improved quality of life which in turn will generate more revenues.
While trying to figure out the problems that face the city on a day to day basis, Roach said it is important that continued efforts are made to insure the lives of children are enhanced.
He is proud to talk about the Leader In Me program at Oak Park Middle School that the city has assisted with.
“The focus is on children and for them to grow into young responsible and productive adults. We do things at City Hall with children in mind,” he said.
Roach mentions the work at Millennium Park should inspire the community.
“Go look at it and think about what it says about how our community as a whole feels about children. Hopefully, visitors will see this and realize this is a community that cares about our children,” he said.
Heading into 2013, that thought about youth is one that anyone who knows Roach understands is paramount in his overall concept of governance. If he is in office, expect the same, because he believes what is done today will benefit many lives tomorrow.