A new director means a new vision for economic development in St. Landry Parish.
Last week, the St. Landry Economic Industrial Development District welcomed their new executive director. Wrapping up his second week on the job, Bill Rodier is settling into his new office. He says there's a lot of ground to cover and negative perceptions to change, but he's optimistic there are good things to come for the Parish.
"I think people are going to be very surprised at the number of positives in St. Landry Parish that just haven't been talked about or just haven't been recognized as a whole for this parish," said Rodier.
While there's no magic formula for economic development, Rodier says since the area is culturally rich, there's a lot of ways to bank on what the Parish already has and that's a big part of his challenge.
"That's my job to find whether they're cultural assets, industrial assets that might be present, tourism assets, or agricultural that we might be able to capitalize on and put those into a consolidated picture," said Rodier.
For most cities, the downtown area speaks volumes about development and progress. And in the coming months, that will be a focus in Opelousas. Set on having a parish economic plan in place in the next three to four months, there's a lot of ideas on the table.
But in order to get people to St. Landry Parish and to stay, Rodier says improving education and roadways is paramount.
"Downtown area is always a priority and capitalizing on infrastructure assets we have in the parish with highway 1-90 and I-49 and how we best position ourselves to be an asset to businesses," said Rodier.