Two years and growing strong
Alliance for Positive Growth paying attention to details in community
SULPHUR — The Alliance for Positive Growth, APG, now in its second year, boasts a membership of 200 lake area businesses, and is staying true to its mission to promote collaboration, according to its founder and President Matt Redd.
“This (the Alliance) was created because we felt there was a lack of people paying attention to the details in our local community,” Redd told members of the West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce at their monthly meeting Thursday. He said unlike state and national politics, decisions made at the municipal level draw little interest from the residents and businesses most affected by them.
“The idea was to bring business people involved in growth and development together,” said Redd. The professionals that comprise the organization are mostly from the fields of real estate, construction, and development.
Soon after forming, APG hired Jeannie Weise as director. “Her purpose was to simply go to the meetings,” said Redd. “Apathy was our biggest problem. We don’t pay attention to what’s going on.”
APG has grown into a “policy group,” according to Redd. “We aren’t endorsing candidates or each others’ projects,” he said. “We’re trying to hold legislators accountable.” The group now has an ordinance and a membership committee.
Redd said the APG works and corresponds with municipal staffs, administrations and elected officials to offer perspective from their sectors on how regulations being considered will affect the day to day operations of local businesses. “Things they may think are minor are sometimes a big deal,” he said.
Rapid industrial expansion in Southwest Louisiana has necessitated an organized, informed approach to not only development, but to the standards and requirements for that development set forth by local governing bodies. Redd noted that the city of Sulphur tried a blanket approach to zoning a few years ago. “We had a group of developers that went to the city and said ‘hang on, let’s really look at this and study this and try to do the right thing’. And, fortunately that (the zoning proposal) was tabled,” he said. Redd said the city of Lake Charles has hired consultants with a “small town approach” to help them map their development. “Instead of these guys that come in and do something in Shreveport and then something in Lexington … this is Calcasieu Parish. We’re different and it’s got to be looked at that way,” he said.
Redd said APG is hoping to attract more members from West Calcasieu. “I’m excited about where we’ve gone and where we’re going,” said Redd.
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