Danahay: Sulphur attractive to businesses

‘It’s the people that make a difference’

By Heather Regan White

news@americanpress.com

Sulphur Mayor Mike Danahay said local industrial expansion over the past five years has made the city attractive to other businesses, as well.

“We’ve got a lot of things moving right now,” Danahay said. “We have a lot of businesses calling on us. They’re taking an interest now.”

At a recent meeting with a civic club, the mayor said investors in two restaurants have visited him within the past week, expressing an interest in locating in Sulphur.

Danahay also noted the numerous donut shops opening throughout the city in recent weeks and joked that he would ask Sen. Ronnie Johns to draft legislation designating Sulphur the “Donut Capital of Louisiana.”

On a serious note, Danahay said he would like to see some sort of parameters put in place limiting the type and aesthetics of businesses locating along the frontage road under construction. He said he is concerned that if one industrial interest locates there, it will keep commercial businesses away.

Traffic woes

Danahay said the flip side of the economic prosperity coin is that, on certain evenings, Maplewood Drive becomes a parking lot.

“We’ve struggled with it,” he said, referring to increased traffic in residential neighborhoods.

Danahay said the administration knew from the experience of the Interstate 10 bridge work what a problem the Interstate 210 bridge project would be, so they “jumped out in front of it” by blocking the Maplewood Drive intersection with Cities Service to 18-wheeler traffic. The turn lane off Cities Service northbound onto Maplewood has also been blocked off to ensure tractor-trailer trucks and large vehicles aren’t making that turn into residential areas.

Danahay said Sulphur Police officers issued 50 traffic tickets in that area this past week, and 30 tickets the week before. He said the majority of them are for speeding and running stop signs. While most of the offenders have out-of-state license plates, there are a lot of locals breaking traffic laws, as well.

Personnel

Danahay said “it’s the people that make a difference in the city of Sulphur.”

“We are very blessed to have Lewis Coats as our police chief.”

He said Coats presented him with statistics for 2017-18, which show a decrease in crime.

“Considering the amount of people coming into the area, that speaks volumes,” he said.

Even with new, tougher requirements, Fire Chief Dan Selph and his department were able to retain a Class II rating, keeping fire insurance rates for businesses down.

Danahay said the permits, licensing and water billing department, run by Keith Berry, has become the economic development arm of the city. He said the utility services department managed by Denise Chandler sees more of the public than any other department in the city. He said the staff serves as many as 150 people every day.

He also praised the skill and professionalism of Human Resource Director Connie Deville and Financial Director Jennifer Thorn.

“We’re fortunate to have the good people that we do working for Sulphur.”

Danahay said he has told city employees that every service they provide is important.

“I’ve told them that if they don’t cut the grass, it resonates with all of us,” he said. “I told them, ‘What you do is just as important as what I do.’ ”””Growing with industry

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