DONALDSONVILLE — A group of volunteers is working to enhance the city’s chances for economic development, and they are looking for help from the community to do so.
Louisiana Economic Development recently approved the city to take part in its Louisiana Development Ready Communities program.
Robyn Penn Delaney, a resident who is managing the project, told the City Council last week that the program aims to make the city competitive for good jobs, business development projects and capital investment
“This is a road map to readiness,” she said.
According to information from LED’s website, the program is one of LED’s strategies to strengthen the economic competitiveness of municipalities.
Donaldsonville is one of eight municipalities throughout the state taking part in the LDRC program, Delaney said. The others are Bernice, Bogalusa, Bunkie, Central, the Cullen/Springhill community, Hammond and Ville Platte.
In a letter dated May 3 and addressed to Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr., LED Community Outreach Services Director H. Patrick Witty said that the city’s application for the program “demonstrated that the community’s leaders are eager and dedicated to enhancing its ability to grow and prosper in today’s market.”
As part of the program, Delaney said, each municipality must implement four development-ready elements — community assessment, strategic planning, leadership development and marketing a community — before completing its individual economic development strategic plans.
Committee Co-chairwoman Glenda Shaheen said that through the program, Donaldsonville can develop an understanding of and address community needs and issues.
The program also offers customized training, community research data, strategic planning assistance and a community visit by a professional mentor.
“This basically certifies your city,” she said. “It helps you to know which way you’re going. Organizations that fund development projects like to see cities that are certified.”
The volunteer committee, jointly headed by Shaheen and city Finance Director Sandra Cost Williams, is comprised of Donaldsonville residents, government officials and business leaders, Delaney said.
Other area organizations that are assisting with the program include the Ascension Parish School Board, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and Ascension Economic Development Corp.
To begin the six-month long project, city residents and members of the business community are asked to take part in a detailed survey, either online or by submitting hard copies.
Copies of the survey are available at the city’s municipal building, 609 Railroad Ave., and at public locations throughout the city, including bank branches and the Donaldsonville Area Chamber of Commerce office.
The deadline for completing the survey is July 25, Delaney said. Those who complete hard copies of the survey are asked to return them to the municipal building.
The committee will also host two public meetings on July 28 at the Lemann Center to discuss the project.
The first meeting, scheduled for noon, will be for members of the business community, Shaheen said.
The second, held later that evening, will be for everyone in the community.
Those with questions about Donaldsonville’s involvement or joining the project committee may contact Williams at 473-4247, ext. 10.
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