Morehouse Parish and the City of Bastrop move forward with the development of Industrial Development Boards committed to building and re-building agriculture, business and industry for the betterment of the community.

Mayor Henry Cotton said Morehouse Parish needs Industrial Development Boards to be able to promote economic development in the city of Bastrop.

"When International Paper was here, we knew who we were," he said. "We were a paper mill town. We smelled like a paper mill town. When International Paper left, I don't think we knew who we were. We had no identity. We fell into a community of decline."

CEO of Morehouse Economic Development Corporation Kay King said there were two active Industrial Development Boards – one for Morehouse Parish and one for the City of Bastrop – in the 1990s. Over time, however, they became inactive and dissolved.

"Local participation is a great thing in any community," she said. "It helps keep the city moving and growing."

Cotton said the parish and city need Industrial Development Boards in order to focus and give necessary attention to the development of industry within the city.

"We are 17.4 miles from Centurylink, Louisiana's largest employer," he said. "Our town is 160 feet above sea level, 100 feet higher than Monroe. Bastrop has advantages that we need to explore."

King said she believes Industrial Development Boards are a good option for the community.

"One of the things an Industrial Development Board can do is look at a prospective project and use an economic calculator to see what would be the most beneficial to Morehouse Parish and Bastrop," she said. "I think it will be a really strong thing for leadership in our community."

King said Industrial Development Boards can do revenue anticipation bonds, tax increment financing and more to develop districts and financing programs for the community.

"We need every innovative strategy that we can come up with, and we need to utilize it," she said. "Our government is developing the tools we need to attract new businesses and industries to the area.