For the past seven years, Ascension Parish has seen a growth in industry expansion and addition. In that time over 2,500 jobs have been created in the parish, according to the Ascension Economic Development Corporation (AEDC).
For the past seven years, Ascension Parish has seen a growth in industry expansion and addition. In that time over 2,500 jobs have been created in the parish, according to the Ascension Economic Development Corporation (AEDC). The AEDC helps the parish gains businesses in many ways; a company will either contact it, give it the criteria they want and the rest goes from there as Ascension Parish awaits the selection process. “We try to be the last person standing,” Mike Eades said, President/CEO of AEDC. “That’s the way it goes, we win by not losing.” Ascension Parish has seen much economic growth from its industries in the past half decade, but the majority has come from those businesses that have been here and are expanding. “It’s not just new business coming in, it’s the people who are already here who already account for about 75 percent of the new jobs,” Eades said. Donaldsonville anticipates a lot of growth in 2014 and in years to come as business owners often inquire about its land. In 2013, the city made a conscience effort to improve the infrastructure companies look for. “The work we’ve done to improve sewer infrastructure, I think, lets the world know we are open for business,” Mayor Leroy Sullivan said. “We are able to provide quality infrastructure in sewer, water and gas. It’s all available and I think it’s going to let people know we have things here people need to build or to revitalize our historic buildings.” There are a combination of things that makes Ascension Parish attractive. According to Eades, the biggest thing is the critical mass of industry and its support services that are here. “You look at these big employers and these big plants. Well they have to have suppliers and service companies to support them,” Eades said. “If you drive around Ascension Parish you probably don’t realize some of these smaller companies that are out here that are out here to support these larger companies.” The other factor is Ascension’s labor force. “We’ve got a good labor force here in Ascension Parish,” Eades said. “People are attuned to working in plants, they know their safe and they know how to work in those environments. They respond well to job opportunities that come up.” Infrastructure is the most important asset companies look for in locating a business. “The more people see we’re doing to make sure we have the proper infrastructure, clean city and crime is not a large factor in Donaldsonville, then they’ll come here,” Sullivan said. All of the economic growth is happening because of Ascension’s access to the interstate, railroad and the Mississippi River. “When you have that combination of river, railroad and interstate in the proximity like you’ve got it’s pretty hard to beat,” Eades said. “That’s why all of the big things are going on. Obviously energy prices are down, availability in natural gas is creating a lot of this demand and the availability in price.” “So these companies can count on not only having a supply of gas but having that supply at a reasonable price.” Donaldsonville hasn’t only seen expansion and interest from the petro-chemical industry, but also film and retail industry. In the spring, Sony Pictures filmed a “Bonnie and Clyde” miniseries in Donaldsonville where many old building were used and restored for the filming project. “There’s also talk of hotels,” Sullivan said. “We’ve been in communication with two businesses who want to open hotels in Donaldsonville and one wants to open a restaurant, so that’ll bring jobs but also other businesses to the community.”