New bridge, blight law reform & attracting growth among priorities in BRAC’s 2019 strategic plan

New bridge, blight law reform & attracting growth among priorities in BRAC’s 2019 strategic plan
BRAC listed the opening of the David E. Roberts Center for Economic Development building, BRAC's new office location, as one of the notable outcomes in its strategic plan.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - BRAC’s 2019 strategic plan laid out its top priorities, which includes pushing forward on a new Mississippi Bridge, improving the city’s Quality of Place rate through blight law reform and redeveloping North Baton Rouge are among the priorities.

Traffic was noted as the biggest concern for business owners for the third year in a row in Baton Rouge, according to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s 2018 results and 2019 strategic plan.

"2018 saw exciting traction among many of BRAC’s priorities, most notably those related to alleviating traffic congestion – the top concern among business leaders for the last three years,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC, in a prepared statement on Thursday. “Change of that scale takes focus and sustained effort on the part of the region’s business community, and a dedicated and talented team of economic development professionals. While there are always new challenges to address, I am confident that the positive momentum the region is experiencing will continue.”

BRAC listed some of its more notable results, which include closing 15 projects accounting for over $1.6 billion in capital investment and $55 million in payroll.

BRAC’s plan was released amid a time of uncertainty for the local business climate. In January, Georgia-Pacific announced the closure of its Port Hudson paper mill, resulting in the layoff of over 600 employees. BASF’s chemical plant in Zachary is also expected to shut down in April. Thompson Pipe Company announced, as well, it’ll close its plant in Zachary later this year, impacting 120 workers.

Legislators are drafting a bill to return ITEP to state control, in response to ExxonMobil’s decision to withdraw its 2017 requests, which could weaken the city’s manufacturing industry. ExxonMobil is also Louisiana’s largest tax payer.

You can view the full plan on brac.org/strategicplan.

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