A program sponsored by Morehouse Economic Development Corporation is giving representatives from MEDCO and the City of Bastrop the opportunity to visit other communities which have faced the loss of major employers or industries and compare progress as well as challenges related to Morehouse Parish.

The group traveled to the Central Louisiana Economic Development Agency in Alexandria March 19

and were presented with an overview of initiatives implemented to work with major employers, workforce development and entrepreneurship. According to MEDCO President/CEO Kay King, the group was particularly impressed by the Central Louisiana Local foods program which closely parallels recent local efforts to promote area agri-business.

Stephen Peychaud, Director of the Central Louisiana Business Incubator, provided a tour of the facility, which is located in a former retail development. The business center was repurposed to provide resources needed to grow small business in Alexandria. Peychaud recently relocated from New Orleans and is working to expand use of the commercial kitchen and food product packaging operations located in the incubator.

The group then traveled to England Air Industrial Park to look at the redevelopment of the England Air Force Base, which closed in 1992. Airpark Manager David Broussard shared challenges in that redevelopment and also spoke about the closure of International Paper in Pineville. He shared their success story about how the community developed a vision and worked together to solve some difficult problems.

"There will be a number of these information gathering trips over the next few months," King said.