“There’s no shortage of positive things I can talk about in Southwest Louisiana about growth,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday night during the second annual Alliance for Positive Growth awards banquet.
“When we discuss how the Port of Lake Charles and its partners secured $136 million in federal funding for dredging and maintaining the Calcasieu Ship Channel, that means the 37 percent of the Lake Charles area gross domestic product that is tied to the port is actually going to continue and grow over the coming years,” he said. “When we say Lake Charles was named the Small Market of the Year for the ninth year in a row in Southern Business Development Magazine’s ranking of economic development results that means that of all the communities across the south of over 250,000 residents, Lake Charles surpassed them all and has for nine years.”
Edwards said the multitude of recognition the area has earned is unprecedented, and the growth isn’t ceasing.
“This year Sasol began the operation of the ethylene cracker as the site’s other plants also began to come online in what is a more than $12 billion chemical manufacturing investment here in Southwest Louisiana,” he said. “And after 6,000 construction jobs that project is delivering more than $60 million in new payroll, or permanent jobs.
“In May, Lotte Chemical and Westlake Chemical completed their $3.1 billion ethylene and MEG complex at the intersection of I-10 and I-210 and Lotte Chemical USA moved its headquarters from Houston to Lake Charles in what has become an extraordinary project for this region,” he said. “Thousands of construction jobs were generated over the three years and now 230 new high-paying permanent jobs have been created directly on that site along with thousands of indirect jobs.”
He said Cheniere is approaching $20 billion in capital investment as it begins construction on its six LNG trains on Sabine Pass and Cameron LNG has completed an investment of more than $10 billion at an LNG complex in Hackberry.
“More than 160 new direct and indirect jobs are already associated with the Lacassine Rail Park in Jeff Davis Parish and the developer plans to create rail services for up to 2,300 rail cars across a 400-acre logistic park,” he said. “And just this week we announced an $18 billion partnership between the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the Cameron Parish Police Jury to add three additional miles of unique rock breakwaters for a shoreline protection project at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Cameron.”
Edwards said it’s an exciting time for the state and he knows the Alliance for Positive Growth is committed to ensuring continued successful growth — like housing, infrastructure and strategic development to benefit all residents in Southwest Louisiana.
The alliance celebrated several area projects and recognized five individual winners.
In the Southwest Louisiana Indivudal Recognition Award category, Barbara Savant won for Allen Parish; Lisa Adams, Beauregard; John Cardone Jr., Calcasieu; Ryan Bourriaque, Cameron; and Marion “Butch” Fox, Jeff Davis.
Project Award winners were A-Won Ace Hardware TIY, Sabine Pass Liquefacation Project, Flock of Five Gift and Art Emporium, Gator Chateau, McNeese State University Health and Human Performance Education Project, Lake Charles Memorial Health System Archer Institute, Southern Vintage Flea Market, Calcasieu Industrial Park, and Sowela Technical Community College’s Sycamore Student Center.
Other nominees included Audubon Place Suddivision Phase One, Cameron LNG Liquefacation Train 1, Cheniere LNG Operation and Maintenace Building II, Cypress Center, Lotte Chemical Ethylene and Ethlene Glycol Production Project, Kirby Street Apartments, and the St. Jude Dream Home Giveway 2018.
The President’s Award was given to Cynthia Roy and artwork by Sowela student Amber Johnson was chosen for this year’s program cover art.