Lafayette, Facebook

With impressive economic growth and one of the nation's best unemployment rates, the city of Lafayette has been piling up the accolades and awards as of late. The challenge for Lafayette now becomes how to maintain the wave of success in the coming years. Lafayette City-Parish Chief Development Officer Kevin Blanchard joined “Nathan and Bernie in the Morning” to discuss the future of Lafayette.

It’s fiscally conservative; it’s just smart. It’s good business.

"I think we have the opportunity to be the next great American city," said Blanchard.

Yesterday, Bell Helicopter opened at 30,000 sq ft facility that will be used to repair and maintain the company's helicopter fleet. This is just the tip of the iceberg for the company as they plan to also build a major assembly factory near the Lafayette Regional Airport in 2015. Blanchard says new businesses like Bell Helicopter coming to the area are signs of continued growth for the city.

"We’ve been over the last few decades a place that’s assimilated entrepreneurs from all over the world because we’re such a heart of the oil industry," explained Blanchard. "People here are ready to make money, and looking for ways to make money and start a business."

Despite all the success, Blanchard admits the city still has some work to do in the areas of infrastructure and eduction, but he believes Lafayette's soon-to-be completed Comprehensive Plan will keep the city on the right track.

The final public meeting for Lafayette's Comprehensive Plan took play in February. The completed plan will be presented to the City of Lafayette Planning Commission in May for adoption.

"I’m proud we’re becoming the sort of community that plans, that looks to the future, that makes reasoned, rational decisions about what we’re doing," said Blanchard. "It’s fiscally conservative; it’s just smart. It’s good business."

To listen to the full audio from the interview, click the play button below: