Census: Ascension Parish top 100 in U.S. growth
GONZALES - One of the fastest growing counties or parishes in the country is Ascension Parish, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Ascension Parish ranks 89th among the top 100 counties or parishes in the country based on percentage of population growth from 2013 to 2014. In 2013, the parish had an estimated population of 114,432, and in 2014 it climbed 2.3 percent to 117,029.
While growth can be looked at as a positive thing, it can also bring challenges to a parish.
"My most concern is the infrastructure," said Ascension Parish resident Gary Pope. "The roads, the drainage, the sewerage and then the trash is a problem in the state overall I think."
Parish leaders feel growth will create challenges with transportation, drainage and schools. Parish Council Chairman Randy Clouatre says the parish and its municipalities will need to work closely with the Department of Transportation and Development to make plans to free up roadways.
Clouatre says the parish also needs to improve drainage to protect the people already living in the area, and with more people moving into Ascension Parish, he says the school system will need to expand schools while continuing to provide a great learning environment.
People feel the parish needs to act fast before it becomes too late.
"A sense of urgency is something they really need to keep on, because the growth we're having here I've noticed is tremendous and it doesn't appear to be slowing at all," said Pope. "That's the good thing, but on the other hand the bad thing is its infrastructure."
Clouatre feels he and other parish leaders need to continue to push state and federal leaders to help take care of the parish and local government.
The only other Louisiana Parish to make the top 100 is St. Bernard Parish at 79.