American rotorcraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter have announced plans to begin construction on a Lafayette facility in early 2014. Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel joined "Mornings with Ken and Bernie" to discuss what Bell Helicopter's decision to locate in the Hub City means for Lafayette.

"They narrowed it down to Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana; and they chose Louisiana," remarked an elated City-Parish President Durel.

The 82,000 sq ft Lafayette Bell Helicopter location will create 115 direct jobs as well as 250 total jobs for the city. The economic stimulus brought on by the Bell Helicopter facility will likely benefit Lafayette as well as surrounding parishes.

Durel says Bell Helicopter's current presence and experience in Lafayette likely had a lot to do with company ultimately choosing Lafayette for the new location.

They have a presence in Lafayette right now, so the good news is they’re experienced with our people and our work ethic. They really complimented the work ethic of their people in North Park in Lafayette. - City Parish President Joey Durel

Durel was happy to have played a roll in bringing Bell Helicopters to Lafayette, but says the majority of the credit goes to the state and the Lafayette Airport Commissioner.

The Lafayette Airport Commissioner deserves an awful lot of credit for this. I can assure you that this was not something on their longterm plan two years ago, but they were able to maneuver and be flexible. Without them, this would not have happened.  - Durel

Bell Helicopter's decision to locate in Lafayette is the latest indicator of the Lafayette economy's ability to thrive despite national economic woes, something Durel says is vital to the sustainability of a community.

"A community doesn’t stay stagnant, it either grows or it dies." - Durel

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