Chamber Looks Forward to Inclusive Planning
Master plan update slated
BY MATTHEW BEATON, THE DAILY IBERIAN
The public will get its first whiff of an Iberia Parish consultant’s recommendations for the parish’s new infrastructure master plan at a meeting Wednesday.
The consultant will address the Iberia Parish Council’s Master Plan Ad Hoc Committee at its meeting, which is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. inside Council Chambers on the fourth floor of the Iberia Parish Courthouse. It is open to the public.
Michael Songy of the Baton Rouge engineering firm CSRS will give his suggestions for the master plan at the meeting, said committee member Mike Tarantino. The master plan will be good for 10 years.
Tarantino said Songy already has looked at how the parish’s decade-long 2000 master plan performed. After hearing Songy’s recommendations, the committee will get additional input from other groups at the meeting.
"The result of all of this is that we can set a clear course for how we set a master plan that the entire community can get behind,” Tarantino said.
The plan is parishwide and the city of New Iberia has been brought in as a partner to help create it, Tarantino said. Also, Songy has met with the mayors in the parish’s smaller municipalities.Tarantino would not give a timeline on when the master plan would be finished, but he said it’s important the plan include frequent benchmarks for the parish to assess its progress. He said he doesn’t want the plan to sit on a shelf for 10 years and only then be pulled down and analyzed to see how the parish did.
He’d like to see annual progress reports for the upcoming plan.
Ultimately the plan will focus on infrastructure — roads, bridges, water lines, sewer, drainage — but additional elements may be rolled into it, Tarantino said. Those could include land use and community beautification, he said.
"There’s a whole lot of things that can position this community for commercial and residential growth,” Tarantino said.
Also, the meeting will give various community groups an opportunity for input. Janet Faulk-Gonzales, president and CEO of the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce, said she plans to address the committee at the Wednesday meeting.
Faulk-Gonzales said she will talk about "Operation Progress,” a Chamber initiative to ensure the business community is involved in community planning throughout the parish.
"It’s directed at any planning and any kind of initiative that any entity would undertake. … It’s about setting a tone,” she said.
Faulk-Gonzales said she wants the business community’s voice to be heard as the committee creates the master plan. She said the business community can act as a resource in the plan’s development.