‘We’re parishwide ... we’re proud’
It was more of a networking social than a board of directors meeting when OneAcadia gathered for the Chairman’s Annual Update Thursday.
And that was just fine with Chairman Pat Bordes II.
“This is what we’re all about, bringing people from all over the parish together with one goal in mind, to improve our parish,” Bordes said during brief remarks poolside at the new Summerchase Apartments in Rayne.
“We have people from Rayne, Crowley, Church Point, Iota, all across Acadia Parish here tonight,” said Bordes, who has served as OneAcadia’s chairman since the organization was founded three years ago. “We are a parishwide organization and we’re proud of that.”
Bordes pointed out that the success of OneAcadia is due to the hard work and dedication of its board of directors, including Danny Nugier, Bryan Francis, Claire Benoit, Chris LeBas, Jackie Loewer, Tom Trahan, Ricky Bonin, Jackie Casanova and President/CEO Laurie Suire.
Following up Bordes’ remarks, Suire added her thanks to the many who attended and explained that OneAcadia had just, the day prior, wrapped up a two-day workshop entitled “Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities.”
Acadia parish is one of only 25 communities in the nation to receive this targeted technical assistance by a consultation team, according to Suire.
She said the meetings had been very insightful and promised that OneAcadia will soon be presenting a strategic plan for the parish “to achieve our development goals for enhanced quality of life and to become more economically and environmentally sustainable.”
While the tone of the Thursday evening gathering was casual, material was available that highlighted OneAcadia’s successes through 2016.
• Revive 35 Priority: Louisiana Highway 35 from the Branch Highway to Church Point is being repaved as a result of engagement by OneAcadia and the community with the state Department of Transportation and Development and state legislators.
•Rural Transit Service: In 2017, Acadia residents will have more transportation choices from Crowley to Lafayette through this pilot bus program. OneAcadia was instrumental in securing the grant and continues to work with the Acadiana Planning Commission and local officials in its implementation.
• Accelerate Acadiana: $1.4 million was recently awarded to this business incubation program. OneAcadia’s ongoing partnership with INNOV8 Acadiana means enhanced entrepreneurial resources in the region, including Acadia Parish.
• Acadia Parish Law Enforcement Conference: This day-long event for parish law enforcement agencies provided essential training topics and networking for officers across the parish.
• Flood Outreach: During the August flood, OneAcadia led outreach to the residential and business communities in the parish. Through established relationships with local, state and federal leaders, OneAcadia was able to provide timely updates and information to get the resources needed to recover and rebuild.
• Business Visits: OneAcadia officials conducted more than 20 visits with Acadia Parish businesses in 2016 to discuss challenges, successes, future outlook and possible untapped resources.
A number of other OneAcadia-sponsored programs were highlighted as well as the fact that the cooperative is now the official Economic Development organization of the parish, designated by the Acadia Parish Police Jury to represent the parish in economic discussions, events and activities.
Sponsors for the update event included Fezzo’s Seafood, Steakhouse and Oyster Bar; Cajun Fitness; Rayne Building and Loan; Summerchase Apartments; Carmichael’s Pharmacy and Medical Equipment; Schilling Distributing Co.; Spanky’s Small Engine Repair and Mower Sales; and Farm Bureau