Community Conversations to Kick Off

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The first of this year's Community Conversations from Indiana Humanities is set for Thursday in Johnson County. Events in Knox, Madison and Noble counties will be scheduled later this year. The program focuses on long-term community planning. April 17, 2015

News Release

GREENWOOD, Ind. - How should communities like Johnson County manage growth? What are the priorities for infrastructure and land use planning?

Those are some of the questions that will be discussed during the first of four Community Conversations from 6:30 to 8 p.m. April 23 at Southland Community Church, 5800 West Smith Valley Road, Greenwood.

The event, "Preparing for Growth," will feature three presentations on ways to maximize the benefits of progress, yet minimize impact on infrastructure. Hosted by Aspire Johnson County, attendees will be able to submit questions via their smart phone, tablet or in writing during the meeting. Aspire Johnson County will answer all questions on its website following the event.

After the presentations, residents will have an opportunity to view current land use planning maps for the area and interact with local elected officials.

The speakers will be Sarah Rubin, Indiana Department of Transportation project manager; Greg Goodnight, Mayor of Kokomo; and Larry DeBoer, Purdue University professor. Rubin will talk about how communities can prepare for corridor growth- such as the proposed Interstate 69 project. Goodnight will discuss how Kokomo is managing growth and development and getting public input. DeBoer will share his expertise on the financial impact of economic development and state and local government policies toward funding it.

Aspire Johnson County, a community betterment initiative, is conducting the four Community Conversations to evaluate assets, collect "best practices" and determine the county's current and future needs. Aspire Johnson County was one of four Indiana entities selected for the series.

During the past five years, more than 20 Indiana regions have been selected to participate in the Community Conversation series. The cost of the speakers, planning and promotion will be covered by Indiana Humanities, the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and local event sponsors. After the meeting, the Bowen Center for Public Affairs will provide additional consultation as requested.

"Johnson County has a promising future, and community leaders understand the need to engage in these conversations now to help the region move forward." said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. "By engaging residents in thoughtful dialogue, these events could serve as a catalyst for thoughtful growth and development."

The events are free, but registration is requested. Interested participants can sign up at: www.AspireJohnsonCounty.org.Information about all four Community Conversations is available at: www.AspireJohnsonCounty.org/Community-Conversations.

About Aspire Johnson County

Aspire Johnson County is a county-wide community collaborative whose vision is to make Johnson County a destination to live, work and play.

Understanding that attracting new jobs and capital investment is highly competitive, the Johnson County Development Corporation, with financial support from the Johnson County Community Foundation, launched Aspire Johnson County in 2013 to better position Johnson County in the marketplace.

Members of Aspire Johnson County- who include business, education, government, and non-profit sector representatives and community volunteers- are focused on infrastructure, quality of life assets, talent retention and attraction and branding.

About Indiana Humanities

Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. As a convener, leader and partner, Indiana Humanities promotes the public humanities and engages Indiana's community of minds to create stronger, more vibrant communities.

About the Bowen Center for Public Affairs

The Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University advances the ideals of civic literacy, community involvement, and public service exemplified by the career of Dr. Otis R. Bowen. The Center leads the way in Indiana toward an energized citizenry and vital community life.

About the Office of Community and Rural Affairs

OCRA promotes community prosperity to strengthen Indiana's economy by providing capacity-building solutions to assure ready, marketable and competitive communities for economic growth.

Source: Johnson County Development Corp.