The word on the street is that the former Walmart Supercenter, located at 1229 NW Evangeline Thruway in Lafayette, is being proposed to become an industrial hemp facility.
According to the CEO of POD Group, Ford says that the former Walmart would be used to grow and process hemp, which is used for a variety of practical products i.e. clothing.
So what is hemp? No worries, we googled for you! According to Wikipedia, Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago. It can be refined into a variety of commercial items, including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.
If funding is achieved for this project, then the facility could expect to create about 2,500 jobs and generate about $216 million in revenue for Lafayette Parish.
It’s no secret that the closing of Walmart Supercenter in Lafayette’s Northside has damaged the region to some degree. Let’s be honest, a shuttered Walmart does not scream prosperity. However, if this hemp facility comes to fruition and actually provides the jobs and revenue projected, then we could start to see a tidal shift in the economic status of our city’s front door.
For quotes from Ford, the CEO of POD Group about the proposed project, click here.