Zachary’s Economic Development Council is working on a website to provide ongoing information regarding growth in the community.
The site is expected to provide details on commercial projects that have submitted development plans in Zachary, such as one that is tentatively scheduled to appear on the City Council agenda as early as August.
Mayor David Amrhein and Economic Development Director Kate MacArthur said their jobs are to listen to, recruit and develop businesses.
“I say this all the time, but there are two types of cities: dying and growing,” Amrhein said June 14. “The city and school district are joined at the hip in terms of economic growth, and economic development is vital to the growth of this community. As our population grows, so does the need for retail and infrastructure.”
He said Zachary’s population has increased from 14,960 in 2010 to 16,174; 159 new home permits were issued in 2015, up from 90 in 2011; and schools have seen a rise in student population with 5,393 students in 2014-15 to 5,411 in 2015-16.
With the increase in population and rooftops, the city’s infrastructure has had to develop to support that growth, with roughly $30 million to $35 million spent in recent years to upgrade sewer, water, gas and road systems.
“Growth is good, and sales tax revenue is what drives Zachary. Without it, we cannot continue to be a thriving city,” MacArthur said. “Our sales tax revenue is what directly funds the employment of our community’s teachers, police and firefighters as well as city services and educational programs in our schools.”
Amrhein said he, MacArthur, city planner Amy Schulze, two City Council members, two School Board members and business leaders meet monthly to discuss potential business and retail opportunities as a way to grow the community.
The new website will also provide marketing information on locating a business in Zachary as well as factual information on projects, such as square footages, site plans and annual retail sales expected to be generated from them.
“New developments provide additional shopping and dining amenities for our residents and those from surrounding areas, and new businesses help grow the entire business community,” said MacArthur. “National retailers bring in consumers with spending power from outside of our city, and consumers are more likely to primarily visit larger retailers and then take the opportunity to shop and eat at local retailers. There is a convenience to have all your shopping needs met in one area.”
The new website — grow zachary.com — is tentatively expected to go live Thursday, but MacArthur said there is a chance the site would go live a few days beyond that date.