Future Youngsville Mayor Ken Ritter Excited For What’s Next
Future Youngsville Mayor Ken Ritter said young families have flocked to the fastest growing city in Louisiana because of the quality of its education system and because of its quality of life.
"It's not unusual to have several record-breaking months for new residential permits," Ritter said, adding that more than 500 new homes were constructed in 2013 and new plans for two new neighborhoods with 200 homes each recently arrived at city hall.
The rapid growth, though, has resulted in problems for Youngsville's highly acclaimed public schools, which are a part of the Lafayette Parish Public School System. Overcrowding has been an ongoing issue, Ritter said, and he made it clear that a new high school will be needed in the area soon.
"When we recognize that people move to Youngsville because of the quality of our education system, I want to put the school system and our superintendent on notice...Youngsville will need a new high school," Ritter said. "If the school system doesn't get it done, I'm prepared to find a company that will get it done."
Discussions on possibly breaking away from the parish school system halted after about $16 million was allocated to expand Green T. Lindon Elementary School and Youngsville Elementary School and after a new charter school--which is now at capacity--opened in the city. But Ritter said he is leaving all options on the table to resolve the lack of appropriate classroom space.
"Youngsville has been as successful as it is because we've taken risk," Ritter said. Because of the city's "unique disadvantages"--it does not have direct access to U.S. Hwy. 90, for example--officials have been forced to take such risks to attract resident and improve the quality of life, Ritter said.
That quality of life has brought young families to the city, Ritter said, a fact which is slowly changing the city's demographics. A third of Youngsville voters are between 18 and 33 years of age, and the city council could soon transition to reflect that demographic makeup, Ritter said.
To listen to the full interview with Ritter, click on the 'Play' button below.