Sections of Livingston Parish want more businesses, retail locations

Published: Jul. 10, 2013 at 9:25 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 11, 2013 at 12:27 AM CDT
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DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - Luring in more businesses to Livingston Parish has been a priority for several mayors. Some have seen success, others have not.

The mayor of the Town of Livingston says he is still waiting to see those signs of progress.

On the western side of Livingston Parish, there's one word to describe all the businesses that have popped up: choice. There are multiple places to eat, places to shop and there are still plots of land that are for sale.

According to Mayor Jimmy Durbin, the real estate there is moving.

On Range Avenue, he says residents are about to see some real change.

"CVS is underway. There's going to be other businesses coming to that shopping center. That's been a dead shopping center for a long time," said Durbin, addressing dozens of residents at annual mayor's breakfast, sponsored by the Livingston Chamber of Commerce.

Just a few exits from Denham Springs, Walker is experiencing the same interest from retailers.

"We're very appreciative to all our businesses in the city of Walker because without them, we really don't exist," said Fred Raiford, who works for the city.

It's the revenue from those businesses that keeps these cities afloat.

But while one end of the parish is thriving, the eastern side is considerably more quiet.

"Well, I'm hoping Denham and Walker will fill up and we get the spill over," said Town of Livingston Mayor Derral Jones.

Jones says the parish seat could look a little more like those other areas. Right now, they are in the process of making improvements to the roads, drainage, water and sewer systems to attract interest. But, Jones says, residents who live in the area enjoy what they already have.

"Everybody wants progress and new growth. But everybody wants nothing to change."

Jones says most businesses look at the population count in the area and if there are not enough people, the company moves on. In the town, there are just under 2,000 residents. That's roughly one-third the size of Walker.

"I'm envious of Albany getting a McDonald's," said Mayor Jones. "I would've thought we'd get one first."

The mayor hopes with a little more growth, they won't be so limited in what is offered to their residents.

"Hopefully that will attract more commerce, more development."

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