By Sara Judson
The Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana hired Urban Design Associates (UDA), an internationally recognized master planning firm with over 50 years of experience, to lead a robust planning process for Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes. “We are so appreciative of the $2.5 million gift from Angela and David Filo that gives us the opportunity to have exceptional planners working with our local community to rebuild with resilient and equitable plans for housing, infrastructure, economic development and other quality of life enhancements that will have a positive impact on our region for decades,” said Sara Judson, CEO of the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana. “We are grateful to the Filos for making this master planning process possible for the Lake Charles area. Their willingness to provide the dollars for us to create a plan to rebuild in a resilient and equitable way will forever be appreciated by our community,” said Mayor Nic Hunter. “I look forward to working with other elected officials, interested citizens and business owners and the Community Foundation to make a positive, lasting impact in Southwest Louisiana.”
Urban Design Associates practices master planning in communities around the country and the world, with emphasis in several areas including housing. They will coordinate the overall planning process for Calcasieu and Cameron parishes. They will utilize Louisiana based firms specializing in community engagement, engineering, and economic development. “Our team members are honored to partner with the communities of Southwest Louisiana. We look forward to working side-by-side with residents and stakeholders to envision a vibrant, safe, growing region for the future,” said Megan O’Hara, Principal, Urban Design Associates.
The Foundation engaged a team of community stakeholders from across Calcasieu and Cameron parishes who have participated in all aspects of the selection process. “Over 100 people shared input either in interviews or on line surveys that helped craft the proposal for the planning firm. This process will give opportunity for continued public engagement both in person and virtually beginning later this Fall,” added Judson.
“We are fortunate to have growing industry in Cameron Parish and look forward to the master planning process to help create a more resilient future for economic growth and quality of life for those of us who call Cameron Parish home,” said Scott Trahan, Cameron Parish Police Jury President.
“As we continue to implement the Police Jury’s Long Term Recovery Plan, we look forward to aligning our priorities and vision for our community. We are committed here locally to making this community thrive during recovery and beyond,” said Brian Abshire, President of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.
Information on the master planning process will be available on the Community Foundation website, www.foundationswla.org and soon on a website specifically dedicated to the plan and its community engagement.