Walker is one of those rare places where you can live the charm of a small town, but still enjoy all the conveniences of a city. A place where neighbors still know each other by name, where the baseball park is the spot to be on a Saturday, where flags line the main road on the Fourth of July and Veterans' Day, and where your children can attend some of the highest-performing public schools in the state. But it's also a place where you can enjoy a steak or an enchilada, shop for clothes, antiques or appliances, listen to some of the best musical performers in the South, and even recycle. It's not surprising Walker is one of the fastest growing communities in Louisiana.
About the City of Walker The City of Walker has one of the fastest-growing, dynamic economies in South Louisiana. It is centrally and strategically located along the 10/12 corridor and in the heart of the Southeast Super-Region, an area that is home to half of Louisiana's population, workforce and businesses. Five Fortune 1,000 firms make their headquarters in this area. Walker offers major city conveniences and services, while still maintaining the small-town charm prized by so many. We are minutes from Louisiana's state capitol and only an hour from New Orleans. Our topranked schools are a magnet for families who yearn for educational excellence and small-town character. Our economic growth is robust and opportunity still abounds. Industrial and commercial residents come in all sizes, from the Fortune 500 Shaw Group's Sunland Corp. to the neighborhood snowball and ice cream stand. Walker's location in culture-rich South Louisiana provides limitless recreation and entertainment opportunities. Adventure seekers find ample hunting, fishing and boating in the forests and rivers of Livingston Parish, while both Baton Rouge and New Orleans offer a steady diet of performing and visual arts, world-class cuisine, music, amusement parks, festivals and other urban attractions.
Recent locations & expansions National, regional and local businesses are pouncing on the Town of Walker's potential and are locating or expanding in the community. Here are a few recent examples.
Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center bought 236 acres in Walker, which is larger than the property on which its main facility in Baton Rouge sits. The medical center breaks ground in the first quarter of 2010 on an emergency room, outpatient diagnostic clinic and physician offices. Future plans call for expanding the facility, including beds for inpatient treatment. Our Lady of the Lake estimates 175,000 patient visits in the first year alone.
Stine Lumber Stine Lumber just opened a $14 million, 100,000-square-foot home improvement store in the heart of Walker. The store boasts a drive-through lumber yard, appliances and an extensive garden center. President/CEO Dennis Stine says Walker won out because market research indicated Livingston Parish has a $41 million potential home improvement market, but only one other existing warehouse store.
Compressor Engineering Corporation Houston-based Compressor Engineering Corporation and CECO Pipeline Services expanded their production, repair and pipeline construction operations with a 44,000-square-foot facility in Walker. The company is the world's largest independent manufacturer of engine and compressor replacement parts. Their customers include gas pipelines, gathering and processing companies, petrochemical, industrial and refrigeration plants worldwide. The Walker site consists of offices, a parts warehouse, machine shop and equipment staging area. CECO President Richard Hotze says the Walker facility is midway between the Irondale, Alabama and Houston, Texas offices of CECO Pipeline Services, a location that will enable the company to provide a quick response to support its eastern Louisiana and western Mississippi pileline customers. Walker was the fourth CECO Pipeline Services office to open in five years. Says Mr. Hotze: "These new facilities position CECO and CECO Pipeline Services to embrace and serve our Louisiana and Mississippi customers, from Acadiana and Greater New Orleans to North Louisiana, from the Mississippi Delta to the Pine Belt and back offshore."
Snap Fitness The national express fitness franchise recently opened a state-of-the-art club along busy Walker South Road. Ranked 11th on Entrepreneur magazine's list of "Top New Franchises" and among Success magazine's "10 Franchises We Love," Snap Fitness is experiencing phenomenal growth with 1,000 locations sold nationwide and some 30-40 new locations added monthly.
Hibbett Sports One of the nation's fastest growing specialty sporting goods stores is the anchor store in a newly built retail mall in the heart of Walker. The neighborhood location sells an extensive collection of shoes, sports apparel and equipment.
LeBlanc's Grocery LeBlanc's Grocery opened a 43,000-square-foot store in early 2009. The store boasts a floral department, a deli, an extensive beer selection and fresh sushi served daily, in addition to a full-service supermarket operation. Walker is one of eight locations owned and operated by the fourth-generation independent retailers.
Walmart expansion The Walker Walmart was one of about 500 stores the chain remodeled nationwide last year. The renovation focused on making the store appear brighter and more open, with wider aisles, low-profile shelving, a bright interior paint scheme, improved lighting and easier-to-read signs. The firm also expanded the electronics department to offer customers a hands-on experience, with interactive displays for hi-definition, Blue-ray, video gaming and portable electronics. The new layout also groups together products that customers purchase the most.
Dow Credit UnionDow Louisiana Federal Credit Union opened a 5,000-square-foot Financial Resource Center at 28645 Walker South Road. The firm offers full teller and lending services, including business services, deposits, consumer loans, mortgage lending, investment services and more. "We are delighted to provide another new, convenient, full-service location to our member-owners living in the Livingston area," says President/CEO Jeff Hendrickson. "This location provides an added level of convenience for the day-to-day lives of our busy members who live and work in this area."
A growing business scene Even in a tough economy, Walker's commercial growth has remained on the fast track. The number of occupational permits issued by the city has more than doubled in just five years. In 2009, 59 new businesses opened their doors.
Occupational Licenses 7 2009
2008 5 2007 4 2006 3
2 2005 1 2004 0
Our people The U.S. Census puts Walker's current estimated population at 6,249, a 68% increase since 1990. However, the area immediately surrounding Walker [zip code 70785] has an estimated population of 19,275. Claritas Inc. projects an annualized growth rate of 1.8% for the community and 2.5% for the surrounding area through 2013. Young families make up a significant portion of our people. The median age of residents is about 33. Walker and the surrounding area have higher proportions of children under the age of 17 and adults ages 25 to 44 than the rest of Louisiana and the nation as a whole. Our residents are increasingly well educated. When compared to the rest of the nation, 14% more of our residents hold a high school diploma. Also, nearly 40% of our residents have pursued advanced education - an increase of nearly 15% since 1990. Walker's residents are also more affluent than Louisianans as a whole. The city's estimated median income is $47,887 - up 25% since 1999. Nearly half of our households now have incomes above $50,000 [the national average is $50,007]; almost a quarter of them earn more than $75,000. A higher percentage of the town's residents also work. Nearly 62% of our citizens are employed, compared to 56% of all Louisiana residents and 61% of U.S. residents. An estimated 2% are unemployed and 36% are not in the labor force. About 30% of our residents hold sales and office positions; 23% hold construction, extraction and maintenance jobs; 16% are in professional occupations; 12% work in production, transportation and material moving; 10% are in service occupations; and 8% are in management, business and finance. Four out of five of our citizens commute to work outside of Livingston Parish, approximately half of them in East Baton Rouge Parish.
2008 Census estimate
Capital Metro Area 2007 Census estimate
Residents with high school diploma
Education beyond high school
Incomes below poverty/individuals
Incomes below poverty/families
Household Income $75,000+
Household income $25,000-$75,000
Market access Highways
Interstate 10 Interstate 12 Interstate 55 U.S. Highway 61 U.S. Highway 190
Distance to ports & waterways
Port of Greater Baton Rouge [27 miles] Port of New Orleans [80 miles] Port of South Louisiana [79 miles]
Distance to airports
Baton Rouge Metro Airport [24 miles] New Orleans International Airport [69 miles]
50 carriers in the region
Distance to major cities
Atlanta, GA [507 miles] Birmingham, AL [382 miles] Chicago, IL [897 miles] Dallas, TX [462 miles] Houston, TX [288 miles] Little Rock, AR [414 miles] Kansas City, MO [815 miles] Nashville, TN [570 miles] New Orleans, LA [80 miles] St. Louis, MO [647 miles]
Education Four-year colleges Louisiana State University/Baton Rouge
Southeastern Louisiana University/Hammond
Southern University/Baton Rouge
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Tulane University/New Orleans
Other higher education Baton Rouge Community College
Livingston Parish Literacy & Technology Center
Primary/secondary 9 public schools [Top 10 ranking]
1 nonpublic school
Regional research institutes
Pennington Biomedical Research Center LIGO Observatory Louisiana Business & Technology Center Louisiana Emerging Technology Center Center for Advanced Microstructures & Devices
Workforce Approximately 62% of Walker residents were employed in 2008, compared to 56% of all Louisiana residents and 61% of U.S. residents. Another 36% of our residents are not in the labor force, which is lower than the 40% rate for Louisiana and equal to the national rate.
Employment by industry Retail
Health care/social assistance
Finance/insurance/real estate/rental & leasing
Percentage of jobs by wages received
$1,200 per month or less
$1,201 to $3,400 per month
More than $3,400
Major employers Shaw Sunland Fabricators Inc.
Livingston Parish School Board
Waste Management Inc.
Custom Ecology Inc.
City of Walker
Pharma Safe Industrial Services
Jack B. Harper Electrical
Taxes Income taxes If your income is less than $12,500, your tax rate on every dollar is 2%. If your income range is between $12,501 and $50,000, your tax rate is 4%. If your income range is above that, your tax rate is 6%.
Utilities & services Electricity
Town of Walker
Town of Walker
Town of Walker
Sales tax Residents within the city limits pay a total of 9.5% sales tax, which includes rates assessed by the municipal government, parish government and school board. Property taxes Improvements on industrial property are assessed at 15% of fair market value; land at 10%. Louisiana has the lowest residential property taxes in the nation. Private residences are assessed at 10% of fair market value. There is no property tax on the first $75,000.
Quality of life Our town is noted for its quality of life, namely its friendly atmosphere, highly ranked public schools, low crime rate, affordable homes, ubiquitous trees, parks and playgrounds, and recreation programs for children and teens. As a community, we celebrate the big holidays together - whether it be with a Fourth of July Parade or Santa in the park at Christmas. Our Pine Tree Festival is a don'tmiss event, and in the fall, families enjoy our Movies Under the Stars in Punk Smith Park. The larger region offers a myriad of cultural and entertainment attractions, including performing arts, galleries, festivals, movie theaters, shopping centers and world-famous cuisine.
Average annual temperature
Average annual rainfall
Cost of living index
100.6 [Baton Rouge MSA]
North Oaks clinics North Oaks Medical Center [under construction] Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center [under construction] Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center [Baton Rouge] Baton Rouge General Medical Center Ochsner Regional Medical Center Earl K. Long Regional Medical Center Woman's Hospital
Parks, playgrounds, walking trail, lake, baseball fields, sports & recreation programs, summer arts program, museum, concerts, parades and other events and activities.
Tax credits & other incentives Digital Media Incentive 25% tax credit for production; 10% for resident labor. Economic Development Award Program Funding for site or infrastructure improvements. Enterprise Zone $2,500 tax credit for each certified new job created, plus 4% sales/use tax rebate on capital expenditures or income and franchise credits up to 1.5% of investment. Gulf Opportunity Zone 50% bonus depreciation and tax-exempt bonds in parishes most affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Industrial Tax Exemption 100% tax abatement for up to 10 years on manufacturing materials. Live Performance Tax Credit Tax credit on up to 25% on qualified production or infrastructure development, with additional credits for payroll and transportation expenditures. Mentor-Protégé Tax Credit Up to $50,000 in tax credits for Louisiana contractors who provide assistance to protégé construction firms. Modernization Tax Credit 5% refundable state tax credit for manufacturers who modernize. Property & sales tax exemptions Municipalities in Livingston Parish typically provide local incentives based on job and investment levels, including property and sales tax exemptions and/or rebates. Motion Picture Industry Development Tax Credit Transferable tax credit of 30% for production expenditures and 5% for Louisiana resident labor expenditures. New Markets Tax Credit A 5% to 6% federal income tax credit for investors in qualified projects for each year of the investment, up to seven years. Quality jobs Up to a 6% rebate on annual payroll expenses for up to 10 years and a 4% sales/use tax rebate on capital expenditures or an investment tax credit equal to 1.5% of qualifying expenses. Research & Development Tax Credit Up to 40% to existing businesses with operating facilities in Louisiana to establish or continue R&D activities in the state. Restoration Tax Abatement Five-year 100% property tax abatement for the rehabilitation of an existing structure. Technology Commercialization Credit & Jobs Program A 40% refundable tax credit for companies investing in the commercialization of Louisiana technology and a 6% payroll rebate for the creation of new, direct jobs.
Economic development contacts Mayor Bobby Font 225.665.4356 Chief of Staff Fred Raiford 225.665.4356 Livingston Parish Economic Development Council 225.665.5223 Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce 225.665.8155
CITY OF WALKER MAYOR BOBBY FONT P.O. BOX 217 WALKER, LOUISIANA 70785