Pulaski County gets boost for placemaking
Pulaski County will soon begin to capitalize on its community assets, as the county has been named a finalist in the Hometown Collaboration Initiative.
The Hometown Collaboration Initiative (HCI) that is administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs in partnership with Ball State and Purdue Universities, has offered the county a chance to improve the quality of life in small communities through strategic economic and community development.
To become a part of the initiative, representatives from local communities applied for the collaboration. Pulaski County Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan P. Origer represented Pulaski County after he approached the commissioners and county council for their blessing.
As part of the application process, it was decided the collaboration would focus on placemaking or capitalizing on a community’s assets that will promote people’s health, happiness and well-being.
Several questions were asked about the community. The questions ranged from providing a list of the committee members and their occupations to letting HCI understand the weaknesses and strengths of Pulaski County.
Those questions gave Origer a chance to talk about the “base that we do have. The really strong opportunities — natural resources, outdoor recreation, quality of life opportunities.” He gave examples such as the paintball field, the Tippecanoe River and the state park.
He also mentioned the building structures that have multistories and could house more economic growth in the downtown areas of Pulaski County communities.
“For the last year, we have been emphasizing the whole capacity building thing — focus on not just trying to get businesses to come here but making it a place where businesses want to operate and people want to live; where entrepreneurs want to start; and where people want to visit as tourists,” Origer said. “We are working on all this and have this opportunity to focus on placemaking, it would be stupid for us not at least to try.”
In the application the idea of a project was not detailed. Origer said the details of the project and the exact project itself will be what the committee decides on.
“As we work as a committee, of 12-15, with our community coach who will assist from the outside, we’ll get into that and figure out in which direction we want to go,” Origer said.
Origer will now wait for further instruction from HCI in regards to the timeline of the project and what will be involved in a community coach being assigned to the county.
He also anticipates expanding the committee to fill in some gaps that are not covered. Members of the committee are from several areas of the county. Origer said the members are not those in the community that are typically on several other community organizations.
Out of that committee, a core committee of three or four people will be created to work closely with him and CDC project coordinator Krysten Hinkle.
Origer also wants there to be a diversity in age of the committee members, from high school students to retirees. He will soon be asking high school students to join the committee.
If someone is interested in being a part of the committee, he or she can contact Origer.
As for now, Origer said the tentative plan is to have someone from the HCI program speak at this years economic development seminar on March 3 in Francesville.