The planning team, led by Urban Design Associates, will incorporate all input gathered for the in-depth analysis. Visit JustImagineSWLA.org and post your ideas for the community. “While you are visiting with family and friends over the holidays take time to bounce ideas around on what would build a more thriving and resilient Southwest Louisiana, the sky is the limit!” said Sara Judson, CEO of Community Foundation who is facilitating this process. “Think of things you see when visiting other cities that you think would enhance our area and share those on the Just Imagine website,” she added.
Hundreds of people are participating in the process already. People participated in public meetings in Sulphur, Lake Charles, and Grand Lake and provided insight for current and future needs for those specific areas within the region. Others are sharing ideas online at justimagineswla.org.
The project website offers ongoing engagement options, including an interactive map exercise where comments can be tied to certain areas or sites within the two parishes, and an ideas wall that includes suggestions from the public that can be emphasized by others. Residents also can offer additional suggestions related to the five key planning categories of Community Planning, Natural & Cultural Resources, Economic Development, Infrastructure, and Housing.
People of all ages are participating in the process. Calcasieu Parish high school students have had the opportunity to participate online while some students at Barbe and Sulphur High Schools were part of in-person meetings in December. “We were thrilled to have Just Imagine SWLA come into the classrooms and ask our students about the future they want for themselves. Having adults recognize the decisions being made now will impact our current students the most and including them in the process is an invaluable experience. This shows how progress can happen when all parts of the community come together turning hope into action”, said Eloise Pruitt, AP Psychology teacher at Sulphur and Barbe High Schools.
Small group meetings are being held both in-person and virtually across the two parishes. Community volunteers have become ambassadors and are gathering input from colleagues in work and social settings. “As an ambassador for Just Imagine SWLA, I’ve really enjoyed gathering colleagues, family, friends, and everyday residents hearing ideas on the future of Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes. I can’t wait to see how their input will shape this community. So grateful an initiative like this exists now at the right time with the right goals for SWLA recovery. “Faith Hooks, Executive Director of Alliance for Positive Growth.
Interested residents who may have missed the Listening Workshops may view the recorded meetings via Facebook at the @imagineSWLA Facebook site.
For more information about the planning effort or to sign up for updates, visit JustImagineSWLA.org.