Smart addresses Rotary about pilot program
By Katherine Miller
Crowley’s Rotary Club welcomed guests Skip Smart, director of community development of the Louisiana Economic Development in Baton Rouge, along with Crowley’s Mayor Greg Jones and Allison Clarke, Crowley’s director of planning and development during the club luncheon on Tuesday.
Smart began by presenting a Powerpoint presentation about Louisiana Development Ready Communities Pilot Program, which is one of the strategies used by LED to strengthen economic competitiveness of municipalities.
Crowley is one of twelve of these communities in the state.
He outlined important aspects of the program with facts such as, 80 percent of jobs within the community of Crowley are derived from already existing companies and new companies.
“The program has been wonderful in helping to make communities throughout Louisiana more globally attractive to corporate investors,” Smart said enthusiastically. “CLECO as well as the City of Crowley has been instrumental in helping to find solutions and tools needed to build a better community.”
By distributing a survey that included 1,500 people, the planning committee has gained a more accurate portrayal of these individual community needs.
Clarke then took the podium and provided a brief review of the planning that the past 15 years has entailed.
“We are now beginning to see the design phase coming to fruition and are looking at the next ten to twenty years. We have learned a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of our community,” said Clarke.
She also stated that as a result of the concerted efforts, our education has improved tremendously and our fire department has become one of the greatest in the state, which results in better jobs and creates a more attractive atmosphere for potential residents.
The City of Crowley has also been able to focus its energies on our great assets, which include the historic district and our agriculture, and she added, “the first step into the marketing phase has begun.”
“This has been a great thrill for us, and we can now let people know what’s great about Crowley,” Clarke said pridefully. “Any suggestions or ideas that you may have to help better or community may feel free to present them to us.”
To conclude the program, Mayor Jones added, “I would just like to reiterate that it has been both an honor and a privilege to have been selected for such a program as this. It has been extremely enlightening, especially as we begin to see our plans coming to fruition. Now that we’ve talked the talk, we must continue to walk the walk.”