OUR OPINION: Ascension is fastest growing parish in state

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Congratulations. If you are living in Ascension Parish, you live in the fastest growing parish in Louisiana.

According to the Louisiana Tech College of Business, Ascesnion grew at a rate of 36,17 percent from the 2000 to 2009, and in doing so added 27,961 people to its population.

To put that in perspective, Louisiana as a whole during the same period grew must .52 percent.

It’s no surprise that Ascension is adding people all the time. Nor is it a big surprise that Livingston Parish, according to the study, is the second fastest growing parish.

Parish President Tommy Martinez did express surprise that East Baton Rouge Parish grew at a rate of just 6.35 percent, and actually added fewer new residents from 2000 to 2009 than

Ascension Parish.

That’s correct. Over the last nine years, 27,961 peopled move into Ascension Parish, and 26,199 into EBR.

Gonzales grew from 7,613 people in 2000 to 10,612 in 2009. The growth in the city is pretty easily handled by the Gonzales’ well-planned existing infrastructure for sewer and water, according to Mayor Barney Arceneaux.

But in the parish, where growth has been simply explosive in the past decade, infrastructure has not kept up. The parish has problems with inadequate roads, sewer and drainage.

Under the Martinez administration, the parish  addressed the issues brought on by unrestrained growth by  working to implement a parishwide master plan that will let government and citizens dictate the pace of growth and where the growth will occur.

The Parish President says he is actually grateful for a slight tapering off in Ascension growth (event the fastest growing parish slows down in a recession) because it will allow the parish to implement its growing agenda before the next inevitable wave of growth sets in.

We hope that turns out to be case, and we urge all residents to support parish efforts to implement the parishwide master plan.