ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Kevin Couhig was elected parish president in West Feliciana on Saturday, after the parish took on a new form of government moving away from the police juror system.
Couhig won't be sworn into office until November 30, 2013. The main platform he ran on, was growth and getting development to West Feliciana. His plan to do so would also mean an increase in population for the parish.
St. Francisville is usually the first thing many people think about when they think of the parish.
"It's the prettiest part of Louisiana, there's no doubt about that," Couhig said. But he wants there to another thought when people mention West Feliciana. That, being industry.
"We've created the impression - and it's a misimpression in the surrounding communities, that West Feliciana doesn't want growth. That's just not true," he said.
That's why he wants to develop an area for industry to move to inside the parish, where that development will not interfere with the landscape of the rest of the parish. The area that's being looked at, is an area along U.S. Highway 61 in St. Francisville. Couhig says the industrial area would run all the way to the paper mill there, where the Mississippi River could be accessed.
Developing the area would also mean getting the rail line there up and running again.
"We get some actual sites and get qualified with the states economic program, I expect we will be open for business to reasonably heavy industry."
Couhig was the head of economic development for the state under Governor's Dave Treen and Edwin Edwards. He says if learned anything, it's that people want to live where they work. That would mean the parish needs more residential housing. Not a problem, Couhig says, because the parish has seen a two percent decline in their population in the last five years.
"Younger people live in more urban environments, so the population here's gotten a little bit older," he said.
He says with low crime, top schools and recreation, they have what families are looking for. He added, they are only a 35 minute drive from Baton Rouge.
Couhig's term will only be for two years. Once he takes office, the current police jurors will transition into parish councilmen for the remainder of their term as police jurors (two years). Once those two years are up, their will be an election for parish councilmen at which time the parish president will also face an election. Following that each elected official will serve four year terms.