250 residents give input to planners
Residents were given the opportunity to voice their concerns regarding the future of St. Charles Parish at a series of seven Community Vision Forums.
Questions such as – What would make life better for you? What is missing in your community? What do you like about the parish? What would keep you here forever? – were presented to residents and their answers were tallied.
“We won’t have the official results from the meetings for another two weeks,” said Kim Marousek, planning and zoning director for the parish. “But approximately 250 residents participated and we now have a good idea of what people are concerned with when it comes to the future of our parish.”
In addition to the community-wide public forums, a session at the Satellite Center in Luling gave nearly 150 students a voice in the matter as well.
“What people want to see for St. Charles in the coming years really didn’t differ based on whether or not they live on the East or West Bank of the parish,” added Marousek. “It appeared to my department that there are many people who are concerned with the same issues that would affect us parish-wide.”
While the majority of West Bank residents did show concern regarding levee protection, unified participants from both sides of the parish were also concerned with housing and the area’s dependence on industry.
“We received feedback regarding the lack of housing for first-time buyers and those at retirement age,” Marousek said. “In addition, people are wondering what would happen if our major industry corporations were to leave the parish. Our residents want to know how we could diversify our economy if that were to happen.”
Other aspects comprising residents concerns centered around more retail businesses and opportunities in the parish and more entertainment such as movie theaters or a bowling alley.
These forums will be used to help frame the vision for the parish’s 20-year land use plan. Using ideas from residents, officials will create a blueprint for the future that will guide decision-makers in managing growth, promoting economic development, improving the quality of life and preserving the community.
“As we go forward, we need to make sure we balance all of our needs, which includes retail development and affordable housing,” said Parish President V.J. St. Pierre. “Residents know exactly what they’d like to see because they live it everyday.”
Missed your community meeting? Visit www.stcharlesgov.net to have your opinion tallied.
Once at the parish’s online homepage, click on “Get Involved! St. Charles 2030” on the left-hand side menu.
Neighbors are also encouraged to hold their own forums with the “Meeting in a Box” kit that can be picked up from the Department of Planning and Zoning. Each box contains surveys and instructions on how to hold a forum.
St. Charles Parish has hired the firm of Wallace, Robert and Todd LLC using a grant from the Center of Planning and Excellence to help create its new 20-year plan and to guide the community involvement process.