LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Juban Crossing has been one of the most anticipated projects in Livingston Parish. In the last few months, there's been a lot of movement around shopping district. It's not just shopping that's the buzz, but also thousands of jobs for people there.
The developer of this project, Stephen Keller with Creekstone Companies, says the planned center will be an economic driver for the parish's economy. There's just the matter of getting employees first.
"Everything going on right here. We're really excited about it," said Layton Ricks, parish president.
October is the scheduled date for one of the anchor stores at Juban Crossing to open. Many leaders anticipate Belk will be the first retailer to welcome shoppers.
"It's just such a big deal," said April Wehrs, president and CEO of the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce. "About 150 jobs at Academy and 75 jobs at Belk. I talked to someone who'll be hiring about 20 employees."
She says while the parish has a relatively low unemployment rate, they've found many of the current employers have issues finding workers because they depend on word of mouth when they need help.
So, the chamber has decided to streamline the process.
They are in the process of creating a help-wanted section on their website,
. There, employers can list the positions they need to fill.
Wehr says for some of the stores coming to Juban Crossing they've also helped to set up job fairs.
"You're talking about permanent jobs. About 2,500 to 1,500 part time jobs once it's all built out," said Ricks.
The parish president says that means many people who find themselves leaving the parish to work in Baton Rouge or Hammond can soon be closer to home.
He added the noticeable changes on Juban have also picked up interest from other commercial industry, looking to build near the new shopping center.
All that and the project is only in its first phase.
"All of us can't wait til that day when you drive up and someone walks out with a bag full of stuff," said Ricks.
The first job fair is Wednesday, Aug. 6. Belk is looking for 75 employees. They'll be at the Livingston Parish Literacy and Technology Center in Walker from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.