Fairfield Area and Churchill Park – Avondale, Louisiana
Forward Jefferson Corporation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was organized to operate and assist in the economic growth and development of business concerns in the Jefferson Parish area and thereby lessen the burdens of government. Collaborating with JEDCO, the principle economic development agency for Jefferson Parish, the mission is to proactively influence the economy through the retention and creation of quality jobs, entrepreneurship and investment in Jefferson Parish.
Jefferson EDGE 2020:
The Jefferson EDGE is Jefferson Parish’s official economic development strategic plan, guiding the parish’s economic growth through a robust set of actions and strategies that are updated every five years. With extensive input from business, civic, and community leaders, the Jefferson EDGE 2020 Economic Development Strategic Plan was updated in 2015 and adopted by the JEDCO Board of Commissioners and Jefferson Parish Council. The updated plan includes targeted industry clusters – Food, Beverage, Fishing and Seafood; Water Transportation, Distribution and Logistics; Healthcare; IT Systems and Products; and Water, Coastal, and Environmental Industries. Targeted cross-cutting issues are: Permitting, Building Stock, Marketing and Market Expansion, Workforce Development and Mobility, and Churchill Park and Fairfield. The industry clusters targeted in this plan possess local and regional strengths that can be built upon; meanwhile, the cross-cutting issues will benefit businesses of every industry as well as Jefferson residents.
One of the major areas of focus of the Jefferson EDGE 2020 plan is the strategic development of Jefferson Parish’s last major undeveloped land: the Fairfield region of the West Bank, which includes Churchill Technology & Business Park. The plan outlines two key action items in the cross-cutting issues related to Churchill Park and Fairfield: 1) Update the Churchill Park master plan, and 2) Push for the full development of Fairfield. Implementing these two action items will be costly, and challenging. They critically set the stage, however, for thoughtful, progressive development of some of the New Orleans region’s last developable area—to drive economic growth as well as to create a heart and a sense of place for the thousands of residents who call the West Bank and Jefferson Parish home.
In August 2015, the Regional Planning Commission and Jefferson Parish completed the Fairfield Strategic Plan for the approximately 9,000-acre Fairfield Planning Area on the West Bank in Jefferson Parish. Population projections that resulted from the Fairfield Strategic Plan are significant, with a total daily population for the Fairfield area at more than 150,000 people, with over 50,000 residents and over 100,000 employees. The development of Churchill Park has been identified as the initial step in an effort to position Jefferson and the West Bank for future economic stability.
Churchill Park is situated within the Fairfield Planning Area. This 480-acre site makes up some of the last significant undeveloped area within the hurricane protection levee system. As such, there is a significant opportunity, as well as responsibility, to develop this land appropriately, taking full advantage of this limited resource.
Utilizing Jefferson EDGE Investor contributions, $440,000 was dedicated (2011-2016) to help bring the first 50 acres above base flood elevation (324,070 cubic yards of donated land fill valued at $4,861,057); yielding measurable results: In early 2015, JEDCO celebrated the groundbreaking of Delgado Community College’s new River City Campus and the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Churchill Park. In 2018, JEDCO entered into a contract for the development of a Master Plan for Churchill Park with Perkins+Will, an award winning global architecture and design firm, in the amount of $288,264.00. Over the course of a year, the plan was created through engagement with stakeholders, business leaders and elected officials as well through compilation of studies, reports, surveys and other documents, and serves as a roadmap for continued development of 480-acre property. The master plan offers several strategic design features that set Churchill Park apart from typical development in Jefferson Parish and the Greater New Orleans area, including:
In February of 2019, JEDCO Board of Commissioners and the Jefferson Parish Council adopted the final document as the official master plan of Churchill Park to serve as a guide to the effective development of the site so that it is done in a manner that both utilizes the land in the most efficient way and also supports the goals and target industries of Jefferson EDGE 2020. Without contributions from Jefferson EDGE Investors, the development of this plan would have never been possible.
The master plan will require diligent, extensive work to ensure it can become a reality. Some of the next steps include: preliminary marketing and PR for the Park to market it to potential tenants; updating the extensive Covenants, Codes, & Restrictions, Certification of Churchill Park and working with the Jefferson Parish Planning Department to allow for the uses and design features of the plan; working with Louisiana Economic Development and partners to ensure it is an LED certified site and shovel-ready for development; and seeking funding for crucial infrastructure improvements.
It is imperative that we take a critical look at retaining and expanding our parish’s economic footprint. The West Bank of Jefferson Parish provides us with the necessary expansion opportunities. Jefferson EDGE Investor contributions can help us accomplish the next steps in the Churchill Park master plan, as well as other goals outlined in the Jefferson EDGE 2020 Strategic Plan. The success in implementing these initiatives is only accomplished through the private investment of the generous Jefferson EDGE Investors.
To see the Jefferson EDGE 2020 Economic Development Strategic Plan, follow this link:
To see the Churchill Park Master Plan, follow this link: