May 2, 2012 2:51 PM by Press Release

Cleco SmartSites program in Evangeline Parish

PINEVILLE, La., May 2, 2012 - Cleco Power's Business Development department announces that a 60-acre site at the Evangeline Parish Industrial Park in Ville Platte is the second property in its SmartSites program.

The SmartSites program develops Cleco communities by attracting business, creating jobs and supporting existing business development efforts. Cleco SmartSites are certified by McCallum Sweeny Consulting and meet site-readiness criteria, which reduces risks to business and industry and increases speed to market. McCallum Sweeney Consulting is one of the leading site selection and consulting agencies in the nation.

"We are proud to announce our second SmartSites property and to continue our efforts to create highly marketable sites that are ready for business," said Keith Crump, senior vice president of commercial operations. "Preparing sites that are attractive to business and industry is one way we work with the communities we serve to help them grow. This is an exciting opportunity; and, we are pleased to partner with Evangeline Parish to promote a 100-acre tract containing 60 acres that are SmartSites certified."

The Ville Platte site is located near I-49, and the area offers a skilled labor force and a competitive operating cost environment. Cleco's first SmartSites is a 350-acre site located at the Natchitoches Port.

Cleco started the SmartSites program in 2010 with a list of sites for McCallum Sweeney to assess. The properties at the Evangeline Parish Industrial Park and the Natchitoches Port have completed the evaluation process, which includes a thorough appraisal of the site's strengths and challenges, helping to speed the business development process.

"As businesses look to grow, they want to locate properties that are easily permitted, contain no surprises and have available or accessible infrastructure," said Mark Sweeney, senior principal with McCallum Sweeney. "We essentially identify all of the things that are important to business and industry so that they know up front what a piece of property offers."
"There is a pressing need to identify and cultivate more available industrial sites in Louisiana. We are delighted by Cleco's efforts to aggressively build site inventory with their new SmartSites program, as this program will closely align with our own efforts to expand the number of quality sites available in Louisiana," said Stephen Moret, secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. "As we work together and add more SmartSites to the Louisiana inventory, I am confident that we'll see more projects and more announcements in Cleco's service territory."

"Gaining this certification is one of the best ways to attract new business to the Evangeline Parish area," said Dr. William A. Ward, Evangeline Parish Industrial Board chairman. "With this property, we can now compete on a national level and attract the attention of businesses that may have overlooked us in the past. We are excited about the opportunities this certification brings as we continue to work to grow our parish."



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