LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The fastest growing parish in the state is trying to get a grip on the growth. Livingston's parish president says it's something that should have been thought about back in the 90's. Now 20 years later, discussions about a master plan are finally being had.
Sections of Livingston Parish are bustling with business, but it's those quiet spots off the interstate where parish president Layton Ricks says growth is coming.
"Between Walker and Livingston, that entire area," Ricks said.
In the next couple years, the Interstate 12/190 corridor is expected to be a breeding ground for commercial and industrial business. Builders are already preparing for growth off the Satsuma exit, where homes are under construction. That's not far from empty strip malls.
"We know this is the next hottest area. Airport plans are moving forward. It's going to be big. A lot of economic growth and benefits to the parish," said Ricks.
But before that can happen, he says the parish needs to catch up on infrastructure that's needed to support what's to come. He says that is something that should have been done 25 to 30 years ago. Things like getting a parish-wide sewer system and putting zoning laws in place. Ricks says existing stores are concerned about what could potentially move next to them. Likewise other shops showing an interest in moving in are asking about land use permits.
And there's the issue of roads. When all these new things come, traffic will increase and those drivers will need to have a way to get around. Ricks says remedies have already been done to get residents from Watson to Baton Rouge, but Livingston still needs an east to west road; for those times when Interstate 12 and HWY 190 are bumper to bumper. He says Cook Road Extension could help with that.
Ricks adds that Ascension Parish is planning a growth spurt in the coming years that will add thousands of new jobs there. But a majority of the workers will come from Livingston Parish.
"We're behind already," is how he sums everything up.
The Livingston Parish Council will likely vote on if they will accept the master plan in May. Residents will then be able to give their input.