Logansport’s Hometown Collaboration Initiative team selects placemaking

Last Updated on March 9, 2017 by cassnetwork

Logansport’s Hometown Collaboration Initiative team wrapped up the first phase of the program on Wednesday, March 8, with a decision to focus on placemaking.

The team began meeting in the fall and conducted a survey that drew nearly 2,000 responses and organized a community forum attended by more than 100 people.

On Wednesday, the team spent four hours analyzing the data they’ve obtained over the last few months. Under the direction of facilitators from Purdue and Ball State, team members made a case for each of the building blocks – economy, leadership and placemaking. For each building block, team members considered information from a community data snapshot, the survey and forum results, community assets identified by the team and existing community plans.

The team members also independently evaluated several factors related to each building block and then used a consensus process to arrive at the decision to focus on placemaking as the next step.

Much of the discussion around both economy and placemaking during Wednesday‘s meeting focused on telling a consistent story of the community’s identity. Team members also discussed the importance of supporting and promoting the community’s existing leadership opportunities, including the Leadership Academy offered by the Logansport-Cass County Chamber of Commerce and Purdue Extension.

At a meeting on Feb. 24 where the team learned about the various building blocks, a facilitator from Ball State talked about the importance of placemaking in economic development.

Brian Blackford, who’ll be working with the team as they move forward, told them that jobs follow people, and placemaking is what differentiates a community.

“You attract jobs by making sure you have the people. Human capital is the single most important element in community economic development.”

In the coming weeks, the HCI team will hold a transition meeting to discuss the next steps. Future sessions will focus on the importance of investing in place and a exploring the community through the lens of place-making, including a “virtual tour” focused on what community members “like, love and would like to love.” Then, the team will identify a place-making path, selecting from program tracks that focus on enhancing the value of public spaces, rebuilding the local food system or enriching place through customized approaches. Then, they’ll propose a capstone project.

The HCI team is co-chaired by Michelle Dials and Zach Szmara. Team members include Elisa Banuelos-Cortez, Ferd Burgman, Kevin Bostic, Mercedes Brugh, Vicki Byrd, Kevin Callaghan, Deanna Crispen, Bill Cuppy, Erica Hopkins, Molly McBride, Jon-Myckle Price, Krista Pullen, Arin Shaver, Michele Starkey, Barbara Stein and Lisa Terry.

The HCI program is delivered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) in partnership with Ball State University’s Indiana Communities Institute (ICI) and Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development (PCRD).

More information about Logansport’s Hometown Collaboration Initiative, including the data snapshot, community plans, survey results and forum report, is available at indianahci.org/logansport.