Parish President Layton Ricks gave his annual State of the Parish address on Aug. 8, accompanied by Rep. Valarie Hodges, Livingston Parish tourism’s Eric Edwards, David Bennett, of the Livingston Economic Development Council, and April Wehrs, of the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce.

Ricks told the 140 attendees the parish is not only recovering but also thriving since the 2016 flood, a news release said. He said in the two years prior to the flood, 97 commercial project permits were issued in the parish, in the two years since, over 100 permits for commercial projects already have been issued. In addition, many infrastructure projects through the parish are well underway, including the North River Road Bridge, which should be complete in two weeks.

Hodges said the long-awaited Comite River Diversion project is underway and should be completed within a few years after decades of delays. “Fifty percent of the country’s water flows through Louisiana,” said Hodges, highlighting the need for flood mitigation. She told the audience the project should be complete in three to five years depending on weather conditions.

Chamber President and CEO Wehrs said she is proud of the progress Livingston is making. “One of the reasons we wanted to have Rep. Hodges here to speak about the Comite project is so that people will know what flood control means to them.”

Edwards announced that the Tickfaw park will reopen in October. He also encouraged the attendees with an optimistic perspective of Livingston Parish’s tourism industry. “Bass Pro brings in 700,000 people annually, that’s right up there with LSU football,” Edwards said.

Bennett said the Livingston Economic Development Council is working with several large industrial projects in the parish. There is one site certified in the parish already, meaning the infrastructure and utilities to accommodate a large construction project already are in place. Bennett said moving forward that a second and third site need to be added.

The Livingston Parish Chamber introduced a Love LP campaign that will be incorporated into many of their ongoing initiatives, including the litter cleanup project. More information on the campaign will be released by the Chamber later.

The Livingston Parish Chamber’s Leadership Livingston 2019 class also was debuted at the event.