To a Screen Near You: Parishes Can Tout Business, Industry Sites

An enhanced geographic information system is giving prospective investors in Acadiana new insights into available property in this region.

Anne Falgout, executive director of Vermilion Economic Development Alliance, says her agency is using the “sophisticated new tool” to help real estate agents and property owners to tout the assets of their sites. The public can scan information about available property and buildings online and better visualize them as a match for their interests.

One Acadiana is partnering with its nine member parishes — Vermilion is one — to offer the tool, MapAnalyst, which was developed and improved by Fenstermaker & Associates in Lafayette. The tool was initiated several years ago, Falgout said, but has been enhanced in recent years to make it user friendly for the public.

Falgout helped develop the tool while working in regional development. The tool was helpful then for in-house use, but new features make it usable for the public.

“After working with site selection professionals and corporate decision-makers, it was clear that a system like this was not only necessary to get the attention of relocating companies, but also valuable to assess the needs and assets of the community,” she said.

Here’s the type of information Falgout said you can glean on line: green fields, commercial lots, office space, industrial buildings and retail square footage.

Jim Bougeois, One Acadiana’s interim president and CEO, said search parameters can be changed to identify properties, present the information to decision-makers and appeal to a national audience.

He said information can be revealed by going to One Acadiana’s website or individual websites for the nine parishes. The goal, he said, is to feed information to decision-makers anywhere in a “professional way.”

Kathryn Fenstermaker of Fenstermaker & Associates said MapAnalyst is "a state of the art data visualization tools" that is evolving. She said the software is "malleable" with custom filters.

In addition to its use by One Acadiana and member parishes, she said it has been used for clients in West Baton Rouge Parish, Acadia Parish, Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Sulphur and the Port of Lake Charles.

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