CHALMETTE, Louisiana – From the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation:
SBDEF released its 2021 annual report. Highlighted parish-wide victories include recognition as a development-ready community by Louisiana Economic Development, launch of $4 million expansion from Domino Sugar, helping Chalmette Refining get the parish’s first-ever ITEP approved for a $550 million renewable diesel project, the announcement of Port NOLA’s $1.5 billion terminal, the continuing programs such as Grow St. Bernard, Shop Small Week and Startup St. Bernard, and launching the first-ever Small Business Matters Summit. Not only will these programs and projects create jobs and opportunities, but they will put the parish on the map as a leader in energy transition, international trade and logistics, and consumer packaged goods manufacturing. Internal victories include SBEDF securing nearly $5 million in grants for new programs, partners and infrastructure, founding the first-ever rural workforce collaboration in St. Bernard, as well as the the organization’s very first real estate committee.
The recognition of St. Bernard Parish as a development-ready community by Louisiana Economic Development was a huge triumph for the parish and SBEDF, as it facilitated community input and helped initiate the creation of a strategic plan for the residents, by the residents. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, SBEDF hosted the SBA’s Disaster Loan Awareness Center from November through January, serving more than 350 residents and closing 153 disaster loans. “Our goal was to create and strengthen partnerships to help grow our workforce and expand community resources,” said Board Chairman Zeljko Franks. “It was clear to our team that we needed to work to not only create opportunities for growth, but also ways to help support our economic ecosystem here in St. Bernard. We are in an ideal position to tap into industry demand and propel our community forward.
“2021 has provided SBEDF with opportunities to take on roles that will strategically position St. Bernard Parish and its residents for growth and development,” said Meaghan McCormack, Executive Director of SBEDF. McCormack, who assumed the role in April 2020, is optimistic about the near future: “With the substantial size and number of projects committed to St. Bernard, we are ready to scale our resources and workforce to maximize the benefits to our community. This parish is thriving with incoming businesses and opportunities, and we are excited to help lead the way.