POSITION: Mayor, city of Gonzales
Barney Arceneaux became mayor of Gonzales in 2009, succeeding longtime Mayor Johnny Berthelot, and he was easily re-elected to a second term in November. Arceneaux spent more than $10 million on road infrastructure projects during his first term and said that will continue to be a primary focus during the next four years. Two of the main ongoing projects are the relocation of the River Parishes Community College campus from Sorrento to Gonzales as well as the consolidation of the Ascension Parish operations of the Fortune 500 company Emerson Process Management to the Edenborne development off La. 44 south of Interstate 10 in Gonzales.
What does the arrival of River Parishes Community College mean for the city and its economy?
The arrival of RPCC is not only a crown jewel for the city of Gonzales to have within its borders, but it can be the catalyst that jump starts the Edenborne development and the economic growth and development that we have been hoping to see on the south side of town at the Burnside interchange.
How does Emerson’s move, along with the community college, to the Edenborne development affect that property and future development there?
We have been working for years to get Edenborne off the ground. The arrival of RPCC and Emerson on the scene will give Edenborne the traffic counts they need to attract the vital retail establishments that we have all been waiting for at this development. It also gives the development two large educational components that are already garnering interest from other education-related businesses that may locate in this quadrant.
The city also has seen a much-anticipated bowling alley open with plans for a movie theater. What other developments do you see in the near future?
The city recently annexed a 400-acre tract of property at the southeast quadrant of the intersection of I-10 and South Burnside Avenue (La. 44). We view this as an area that is ripe for growth and, if managed correctly, can be a great mix of commercial and residential development. Additionally, we have seen an uptick in development at the Cabela’s quadrant at the La. 30 exit. We believe this area will continue to grow commercially.
What other areas are you expecting to focus on during the next few years in your second term?
We have just begun the process of implementing a five-year plan to construct water and wastewater improvements on the south side of the city as well as a long-needed upgrade to the city’s wastewater plant. With growth comes traffic. The implementation of the four roundabouts along the La. 30 corridor is underway, turn lanes are going in on Cornerview Road at Burnside and we were just approved for a grant that will overlay Orice Roth Road, East Worthey Street and East Cornerview Road. It is our hope to make adequate infrastructure improvements to not only attract new businesses to the city but to also allow citizens and consumers to move efficiently about the city, creating a healthy and vibrant economy.
Advocate staff writer Bret H. McCormick