Letter: St. George incorporation movement turning into land grab

The map shown for the proposed new city of St. George is very instructive (“St. George supporters propose larger district”). This movement may have started as an attempt to get a new school district, but has clearly evolved into something else.

Some historic groundwork was laid for this situation by city-parish development decisions over many years. The newer commercial and residential development in the areas south of I-12 and west of I-10 reflect the large amount of open land there. City-parish government has facilitated the movement of capital and investment there and away from other areas largely for that reason.

This has been shortsighted in several respects. Because the importance of land and water for purposes other than development has not been acknowledged, this growth has resulted in large-scale loss of farmland and natural areas, and degradation of waterbodies, building up serious environmental costs that the city-parish has not begun to pay. An unanticipated consequence of concentrating so many assets in one area is that someone could decide to take them, which is what is happening.

The map shows that the proposed city would include not only the new school district pushed earlier this year, but additional areas north and west of I-10. The vast area west of I-10 would reach all the way to the Mississippi River, and not only include current major economic assets (Mall of Louisiana, Perkins Rowe, L’Auberge Casino, etc.), but large swaths of currently undeveloped land.

What began as the push for a new school district has become a land grab, and a big one at that.

Doug Daigle

program coordinator

Baton Rouge