LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - While parts of Livingston Parish are under construction, there's another project the parish president has in mind. Layton Ricks says he discussed building a civic center when he campaigned for the job and now it's time to start planning.
Ricks says the parish needs a place to bring in entertainment, hold graduations and somewhere that can be used as a safe haven during hurricanes and flooding events.
He describes the idea as being something like the Baton Rouge River Center, but smaller.
Ricks says Livingston has been riding a building boom for the last several years. Bass Pro in Denham Springs attracted business, including the Sam's Club. That growth then carried on to Juban Crossing and is continuing on down the I-12 corridor to Walker.
"If you asked me where do you want to put this right now, today, well obviously it'd be in the Denham, Walker area along I-12. You've got restaurants and hotels," Ricks said. "But if I stop and think this things through - where is the parish going to be 10-20 years down the road? Right here in Livingston, Satsuma area will be the middle of the parish. It's where growth is coming."
He says there is open land there and hotels and restaurants will eventually want to be there as well.
Ricks says he's met with the Chamber of Commerce and tourism officials and both say they are getting calls from companies interested in moving to the parish, they just need space.
With the parish population expected to double over the next several years, he says, even with North Park and the fairgrounds the parish needs another venue for events.
"For instance, John Snyder did a little concert out at his barn in Holden. It was phenomenal and he's on some private property ... But that woke me up. If he can have this crowd in Holden, what if we had a big civic center."
He says entertainment and other vendors are going to surrounding parishes because Livingston has limited places.
"Do I have the dollars in the budget today? No I don't. The problem is two-fold. Finding the dollars to build it and then having a plan in place to fund and take care of the maintenance and operation of it."
That he says would be dependant upon promoting the center so that it's used often enough to fund those things.
With the civic center, he feels they'd also be in the running to bring in big events. Which would mean jobs, income and attractions for the parish.