BASTROP, La. — Bastrop in Northeast Louisiana has been named among the nation’s top 100 micropolitans for economic development by Site Selection magazine, a leading economic development journal. A micropolitan is a statistical area with a population of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000.
Bastrop ranked no. 78 out of 575 micropolitans nationwide, with two economic development projects in 2016. The two economic development wins that landed the City of Bastrop in the Top 100 Micropolitan list involved Kennedy Rice Mills and EDP Renewables North America.
“We are proud of the progress that the City of Bastrop has made in reenergizing and diversifying our economy,” said Mayor Arthur Jones, City of Bastrop. “Companies like Drax Biomass, DG Foods, Flying Tigers Aviation, John N John Trucking, and Kennedy Rice Mills have recently located in and around Bastrop and Morehouse Parish because of our competitive advantages and aggressive recruitment efforts.”
Last August, Kennedy Rice Mills launched its newest line of organic white and brown rice under the brand KenChaux Rice. The estimated $2 million investment positioned Kennedy Rice Mills to capture a share of the growing organic food market. Kennedy Rice has been growing steadily since it first began construction of its $10 million rice mill in 2011, creating 22 jobs. This latest expansion solidifies the company’s presence in the small community of Mer Rouge, just north of Bastrop.
In 2016, EDP Renewables North America, based in Houston, initiated its plan to locate a solar energy plant along the 165 corridor in Morehouse Parish. The project is expected to generate $78.5 million in capital investment and to create two new jobs. EDP Renewables North America is part of the global energy company, EDP Renewables, with wind farms and solar plants in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
“It is great to see this community recognized,” said Kay King, CEO, Morehouse Economic Development Corp. “Bastrop continues to grow and develop a more diverse business base. We are thankful for the companies that saw opportunity and invested in us.”
This is the second time that Bastrop made Site Selection’s Top Micropolitan List. In 2014, Bastrop was recognized for the Drax Biomass’ $120 million investment. The renewable energy company, based out of the United Kingdom, built a wood pellet facility in Morehouse Parish, creating 60 new jobs. For the last five years, Bastrop and Morehouse Parish have landed many economic development projects, including DG Foods, which created nearly 400 jobs and Flying Tiger Aviation which created 21 new jobs.
The community took aggressive action to develop a new economic development plan and to rebrand itself following the closure of its largest employer, International Paper. Bastrop’s unemployment rate continues to decline as more and more companies create new jobs in Bastrop and Morehouse Parish.