City of Zachary (LA) – Economic Development Strategic Plan
The Challenge. Only a short distance north of Baton Rouge and offering high-quality public schools, Zachary has placed itself in the enviable position of being “in the path of growth.” The community’s proximity to U.S. 61 and an abundance of available sites offer businesses the ability to establish themselves within the Baton Rouge region. To date, however, the bulk of Zachary’s growth has been limited to residential development, which is expected to continue as the national economy and housing markets begin to recover. The resulting challenge will be raising awareness of Zachary as a regional economic partner and in redirecting development patterns to promote employment growth throughout the community.
The Approach. Recognizing these challenges, the City of Zachary hired TIP to assist in crafting a new economic development strategic plan as a response. Our methodology included an assessment of relevant regional and local economic and demographic trends affecting Zachary as well as an analysis of its real estate market. This resulted in the development of a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats matrix (SWOT) to determine the community’s options for increasing its tax base. Once Zachary’s long- and short-term opportunities were assessed, TIP conducted research on various benchmarks to provide best practice lessons on how the community could take advantage of its assets.
The Outcome. The plan recommended an approach focused on the targeted development of specific strategic sites in and around Zachary to which the City should commit resources as a means for enhancing target sector marketing and development efforts, while also meeting other strategic needs for the community. These included site recommendations and strategies for the establishment of a Baton Rouge Community College branch, the public-private development of a new mixed-use town center, the development of a medical district adjacent to Lane Memorial Hospital, and options for business and industrial parks to promote new industry. Another major recommendation was for the City to establish a professional economic development program to help facilitate in the development of these projects and assist the Baton Rouge Area Chamber in promoting the region’s overall economic development efforts.