IU Effort Sets Sights on Orange County

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Orange County is home to the towns of French Lick, West Baden, Orleans and Paoli, which is the county seat. Orange County is home to the towns of French Lick, West Baden, Orleans and Paoli, which is the county seat.
BLOOMINGTON -

Indiana University's Center for Rural Engagement will partner with Orange County for its second Sustaining Hoosier Communities project. Through the collaboration, more than 500 students in 15 courses will take part in work on economic, health and quality of life projects in the southwest central Indiana county throughout the academic year. Planned efforts include a community wellness initiative, an incubator kitchen and a youth artisan apprenticeship program.

The Sustaining Hoosier Communities initiative aims to strengthen the health, prosperity and vitality of Indiana communities, particularly in rural areas.

Orange County, with a population a bit under 20,000, is home to the towns of French Lick, West Baden, Orleans and Paoli, which is the county seat. Orange County Economic Development Partnership Executive Director Misty Weisensteiner believes the partnership will spark continued collaboration "to create sustainable places to live and a greater quality of life."

IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel says the school is "thrilled" to partner with Orange County, which she says has a large population of IU alums. A project steering committee identified community needs and wants, which also include a social services advocacy center, turning an old railroad corridor into a bike path and a prenatal health and education study.

In 2017, Sustaining Hoosier Communities launched its inaugural project by partnering with Lawrence County. Efforts included an active living plan for the city of Mitchell, a study of possible uses for the Avoca Fish Hatchery, infrastructure planning in Bedford, a dark sky designation for Hoosier National Forest and a community addiction study.

  • Perspectives

    • Greg Ballard is the former mayor of Indianapolis and a co-founder and current board member of Indy Women in Tech.

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      I still get a thrill driving through the gates of our legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway and I will be lucky enough to do so for an entire week soon. This week, the best women golfers in the world will once again display their talents at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in the Indy Women in Tech Championship. However, the tournament is much more than an athletic competition. It is an opportunity to support a solution to a critical economic and workforce development issue.

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