Congratulations to planning NEXT clients, Valparaiso and Madison, Indiana, which have each been selected as quarterfinalists in a nationwide competition to identify “America’s Best Communities.” The contest, sponsored by Frontier Communications and DISH Network, is designed to stimulate economic revitalization in small towns and cities across the country. Both communities have been awarded $50,000 to develop a revitalization plan by early 2016, which will make them eligible to compete in the semifinalist round and for a chance to win a $3 million grand prize, $2 million second-place prize, or $1 million third-place prize.
The cities’ respective vision planning processes, ValpoNEXT and ENVISION Jefferson County (a coordinated process for the City of Madison and Jefferson County) were major components of their applications for the competition. Each plan set forth goals and realizable actions (programs, policies or projects) that the communities will pursue to achieve their goals. Both plans also included robust civic engagement processes. Because of this, they have a strong case to make to the competition organizers that they have the broad based support needed to see their visions implemented.