Organization working to bring new economic development ideas to Northside

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The fate of the new economic development districts or EDD’s will be decided later this month. After years of disinvestment on the northside, local developers are rallying in support to help revitalize the area.

After five new EDD’s were approved in January, Pride Opportunity Developers, or POD, hit the ground running to educate people on what this means.

“Getting everybody at the table so we can develop a strategic plan for the northside,” said POD strategist Ravis Martinez. “That’s something that we’re keenly aware that we need to do.”

Martinez drafted ideas for the new district, which encompasses the Northgate Mall area and Castille Drive.

“Developers just don’t come on his side of town and develop,” said Martinez. “So, any type of tool that we can get from the city’s perspective and support for from a national perspective, like opportunity zones, is always welcomed in communities that these types of tools are specifically designed for.”

The plans for redevelopment is to drive the movement of investment into the area, create businesses and focus on the stability of safe and affordable housing.

“We know that steady housing and providing folks with a safe environment to live, work and play is paramount,” said Martinez.

What happens next is that the city council will have to vote on levying 1% to 2% sales taxes and 2% hotel occupancy taxes in each district to fund projects.

“When we look back 20, 30, years from now, we can say we came together as a community, we put all our differences aside, and we really focused on the big thing,” said Martinez. “As in, how did we build jobs. How did we build a sustainable community, and how to do it in a way that everyone feels included and their voices were heard.”

What happens next is that the issue and final touches will be discussed in a meeting on Feb. 18th.

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