The city of Shelbyville is looking to make itself more attractive to young and diverse professionals by going straight to the source and asking what they want. The city has launched Backyard Shelby, a group of young professionals helping to develop and implement a talent attraction and retention strategy. Mayor Tom DeBaun says the group will focus promoting the city's livability, amenities and "sense of authentic community" to new talent.

DeBaun says Shelby County's population is aging and in need of fresh blood, and the effort will help the community "evolve and grow." The group is made up of nine young professionals from industries including healthcare, agriculture, arts, education and manufacturing, along with Mayor DeBaun and Blue River Community Foundation Executive Director Amy Haacker.

One of the keys, DeBaun says, is giving the group significant autonomy. He says it chooses its own leadership and structure moving forward. The group says it chose the name Backyard Shelby to reflect the community's livability, sense of place and proximity to Indianapolis. Meetings began in July. DeBaun says the group has established goals and is now focusing on how to implement and fund quality of place strategies, as well as determining who is not yet at the table who should be.

DeBaun tells Inside INdiana Business other ongoing quality of place efforts in Shelbyville include a riverfront district to help court artisan distilleries and craft breweries, a "robust" trail system and continued downtown improvements.