Lt. Governor Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs Announce Generation 4 Communities for the Hometown Collaboration Initiative

Posted by IndianaHCI on January 18, 2017, in Uncategorized.

Indianapolis – Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) announce the Town of Bremen and Crawford County as the Generation 4 Communities for the Hometown Collaboration Initiative (HCI).

This initiative is open to self-identified communities of 25,000 or fewer people who want to develop a new generation of local leaders; promote the launch, survival and growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs; and/or enhance the natural and physical assets of their hometowns.

“I am proud of Bremen and Crawford County for effectively utilizing what HCI has to offer. This clearly demonstrates their commitment to improve the capacity of their communities through job growth, engagement of local leaders, as well as a desire to achieve a higher quality of life,” said Lt. Governor Crouch. “The HCI process will now have helped 14 rural Indiana communities succeed in taking their cities and towns to the next level.”

The HCI program is delivered by OCRA in a unique partnership with Ball State University’s Indiana Communities Institute (ICI) and Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development (PCRD). Together, these entities champion the core principles of HCI, especially working to gain broad-based input and buy-in that is essential to the long-term success and sustainability of all community development initiatives.

“A community will only thrive when they are truly dedicated to building their own path of resiliency and success,” said David Terrell, Director of Ball State University’s Economic Development Policy. “The HCI process provides the resources needed to develop these paths and the Indiana Communities Institute of BSU is honored to play a role in helping rural Indiana learn to prosper.”

“Our recent site visits with local leaders and residents from Crawford County and the Town of Bremen made it clear that both places are committed to moving their hometowns to the next level of excellence,” said Bo Beaulieu, Purdue Center for Regional Development Director and Extension Community Development Program Assistant Director. “We are excited about working in partnership with these two new sites in helping them achieve their community-driven goals.”

In the competitive selection process, communities were asked to gather a team of up to 20 citizen leaders from a range of interests to explain why they believed the yearlong educational and community capacity building program is needed and how they might collectively leverage the opportunity to do even greater things. The participating communities work with Ball State, Purdue and OCRA to study data about their economy and residents as well as examine the effectiveness of past and current planning efforts. Community wide surveys and forums are one of the methods utilized to assist in shaping focus of the local leadership.

The initial information gathered will then help the team choose one of three educational tracks or Building Blocks in the HCI process:

  • Economy – Build a supportive community environment for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Leadership – Develop a new generation of local leaders who will take an active part in addressing community priorities.
  • Placemaking – Invest in your place through creative quality of life initiatives related to public spaces, design, local foods and tourism, among others.

The Town of Bremen views HCI as their community’s proactive call to action which will include identifying the issues affecting their town, communicate those issues with the community and create a plan to solve those problems both short and long term. HCI will also help to develop relationships between Bremen’s government, businesses and all residents, in order to achieve the collaboration necessary to maintain a vibrant and healthy community.

Crawford County has never completed an economic development plan that has been able to encompass the entire county or that has involved a diverse group from all areas of the county. HCI will allow them to leverage local partnerships and refine existing efforts to address economic needs for the entire county, all while learning how to best comprehend all residents’ viewpoints and translate that feedback into development efforts and inclusionary activities for new leaders to pursue.

The Generation 4 HCI Communities – Bremen and Crawford County – will be joining twelve other communities from the first three generations of HCI. These communities include: Auburn, Corydon, Decatur, Lebanon, Logansport, Orange County, Perry County, Pulaski County, Rush County, Seymour, Spencer County and Vermillion County. All twelve are at varying stages of executing their projects, whether that be the HCI Foundation Phase or the Capstone Phase.

For further information on the Hometown Collaboration Initiative, please visit the Hometown Collaboration Initiative’s website, the OCRA website or contact your OCRA Community Liaison.