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OUTHWEST LOUISIANA (KPLC) -
When it floods, it affects almost every resident across Southwest Louisiana.
As the area is set to expand over the next decade, parish officials want to prevent it from becoming a bigger problem. That's why the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and the Go Group are asking residents to join the conversation.
The Go Group spent the end of 2015 preparing a series of open house meetings to collaborate with Southwest Louisiana residents to tackle drainage problems.
Currently, neighborhoods across the area often grapple with flooding when the area receives massive downpours in a short period of time.
As Southwest Louisiana is in the midst of an economic expansion, thousands of residents are expected to move here to rent, buy or build homes.
"What we really want to find is what is most efficient. We want to look at this very holistically so that we're finding solutions that are appropriate for all entities: homeowners, businesses, government, tax payers," said Mary Kaye Eason, the Public Service Improvements Task Force Chairwoman.
Before any land is developed, Go Group leaders want the opinions and input of residents to collaboratively figure out potential flooding and drainage solutions.
In January, three open house meetings are scheduled to serve as a forum for residents to share some of the problems they face when it floods. The Go Group will then take the concerns to city and parish leaders to prevent the same issues in the future.
"We need to be proactive in shaping how that growth is going to impact us. By residents coming out and sharing what they've experienced in their neighborhoods and coupling that with the research that we've done, we can help adopt the best policies in moving forward for drainage," said Go Group Director Karen Clapp.
After meeting with public works and drainage experts across Southwest Louisiana, leaders of the Go Group's Public Service Improvements task force said it's time to come up with new solutions.
"In the past we had drainage, laterals, gullies and we're trying to move the water away but we actually need to have policies in place now that will address the water where it falls when it rains," Eason said.
The first open house meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Contraband Room at the Lake Charles Civic Center.
The second meeting will be on Wednesday, January 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Calcasieu Exhibit Hall at the West Cal Events Center in Sulphur.
The last open house is on Thursday, January 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Moss Bluff Middle School.