Mayor’s message: ‘Zachary is blessed’ _lowres

Photo provided by Rip Rittell -- Zachary Mayor David Amrhein

The fourth anniversary of Zachary’s current administration was celebrated Jan. 10 as well as the end of a productive year by Zachary employees, Mayor David Amrhein said in his annual message to the city.

An equally significant date, Jan. 13, ushered in a second term for the administration, while reinforcing the city’s continued need for positive change and long-lasting improvements, he said.

“Zachary’s unified community approach continues to drive accomplishments that all have come to enjoy and expect from local government. That cooperation along with the willingness and motivation exhibited by Zachary citizens provides the impetus necessary in achieving the daily results and improvements witnessed city-wide,” Amrhein said.

Strong professional support was provided by the city’s five elected council members who consistently demonstrated districtwide leadership, Amrhein said.

“Former councilmen John Coghlan and Dan Wallis as well as returning councilmen Francis Nezianya, Brandon Noel and Tommy Womack exemplified a working spirit consistent with the achievement of excellent results,” Amrhein said. “I also welcome new council members Ben Cavin and Laura O’Brien and thank John (Coghlan) and Dan (Wallis) for their years of loyal service.”

The mayor said Zachary’s infrastructure improvements — through prioritization — substantially improved over the past four years.

“If the city is to realize its ultimate potential, these and future projects must continue in order to support the exponential growth of Zachary’s population and its economic well-being,” Amrhein said.

While acknowledged as costly propositions going forward, the city’s cautious approach to multiple infrastructure projects have already paid substantial dividends, he said. The mayor pointed to several infrastructure projects, including sewer rehabilitation work; drainage improvements; natural gas line rehabilitation with enhanced regulator controls and product shipper changes; improved water quality monitoring with plentiful delivery; and significant road project work.

Amrhein said anticipated delays and inconvenience along primary roads and new construction project routes, while challenging, gave way to improved thoroughfares assuring expedited traffic flow and improved road conditions.

Two recently completed projects have been the Rollins Road project in November and the Zachary bypass road, which included the opening of Montegudo Boulevard and Bob Odom Drive on Jan. 15.

“Both projects serve as models of excellence in terms of well-engineered endeavors and professionally completed improvements,” Amrhein said.

He said Zachary’s proposals for improving the business climate faced challenges during the past year, but emerged stronger from the experience.

“Partnerships between the city, its economic development imperative and the Zachary Chamber of Commerce represent the organized effort necessary for advancing future initiatives which will ultimately benefit all citizens,” Amrhein said. “Together, all of these incentives serve to promote Zachary’s smart growth model that continues as the guiding principle for the city’s future success.”

Amrhein said Zachary’s residents and businesses continue to enjoy a very low crime rate.

“Zachary Police are firmly reinforced by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and its sub-station operation located northwest of the city. Various other law enforcement agency professionals and their families have also chosen to call Zachary home,” Amrhein said. “Their additional presence is a highly visible and welcome deterrent that reassures us all.”

Amrhein said the Zachary Fire Department continues to provide citywide coverage while also facilitating response to Fire District 1, which includes the unincorporated areas north and west of the city.

“While their personnel numbers have remained virtually unchanged in recent years, the ZFD has clearly demonstrated the ability to handle both responsibilities effectively,” Amrhein said.

The Fire Department maintains a Class 2 Fire Service Rating within the city, a rating Amrhein said is beneficial to residents and businesses.

He said the city continues to support and endorse locally-based sports programs for every child wishing to participate. Significant site improvements have been completed at Zachary Youth Park over the past year, with additional improvements planned for the future.

“Aside from the immediate benefits realized from making the park more strategically able, safe and efficient are the economic incentives which continue to make it a viable income generator,” Amrhein said.

Amrhein issued an invitation to all residents to become invested in Zachary.

“If not already, I hope residents would consider becoming an ardent supporter, advocate and voice for a better, safer, stronger, smarter community going forward. Together, we are Zachary,” Amrhein said.