Y OUNGSVILLE — A University of Louisiana at Lafayette professor presented a plan to manage the growth of Louisiana’s fastest-growing city at a City Council meeting Thursday — a plan that was praised by city leaders.
Mayor Ken Ritter said he was “thoroughly impressed” with the city’s Growth Management plan delivered by Patricia Lanier, an associate professor of management at UL-Lafayette’s B.I. Moody College of Business Administration.
Seven of Lanier’s students in the college’s executive MBA program developed the Growth Management Plan, which is an outline for the future development and growth of Youngsville.
Ritter said the class was a pleasure to work with and said the plan exceeded his expectations.
“Just by going through it, I think the plan will give us a great guideline as to how we move forward,” Ritter said. “My hope will be to schedule a workshop in the next four weeks to talk specifically about this management plan, look at the results and look at the overview this team has put together for us.”
The Growth Management Plan was developed — at no charge to the city — as a part of Lanier’s executive MBA class in just five weeks. Lanier said Youngsville has tremendous potential and the plan will help the city jump to the next level.
“They talk about being the fastest-growing city a lot, but they’re at a crossroads to kind of figure out going from being a small city to a larger city,” Lanier said. “We were really impressed with the leadership and the vision they have, and we really hope this project will help them. This is a city that has a wonderful opportunity.”
Citizens were asked to participate in a 34-question survey, and more than 500 citizens responded in three weeks’ time. Margaret Trahan, a student in Lanier’s executive MBA class, said the response to the survey shows Youngsville’s citizens care about its future.
“I knew it was the fastest-growing city but really had no idea about how forward-thinking the leadership is and how the citizens really want to make good choices,” Trahan said. “They know it will impact the future of this community, and they’re deliberate and thoughtful about the decisions they make.”
Lanier presented the city with both a hard copy and a digital copy of the plan, which outlined and emphasized much of what the city already was aware of in its needs, according to Ritter. It highlighted a need for improvement in drainage, parks, public safety and infrastructure. It also targeted improvement in schools.
Ritter presented Lanier with a key to the city for her efforts in the project. Councilwoman Lauren Michel commended the class for the project’s thoroughness.
“The research put into it and the presentation was very easy to follow,” Michel said. “It provided crucial and critical information as we embark on the next four years.”
Lanier said she was grateful that her class produced a useful tool for the city.
“The students do all the work,” Lanier said. “I was pleased with the product, and I think it will be something that will be useful.”
Ritter said he hopes to have the digital copy on the city’s website in the next few days.