Congratulations to LaPorte County, Indiana! The County has won the 2022 Outstanding Outreach & Communication Award from the Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association for their Vibrant Communities Initiative. The award honors an individual, project or program that uses information and education about the value of planning to create greater awareness among citizens or specific segments of the public.
In 2019, a coalition of community leaders decided to take action and set the County on a new course to advance prosperity and quality of life in the wake of a stagnant population and sense of inertia regarding future planning. Vibrant Communities was an eight-month process, facilitated by Planning NEXT, to develop a unified vision and action agenda that included unprecedented outreach and communication to support broad, meaningful participation. During this time, over 900 people were engaged, yielding 4,000 unique pieces of input that resulted in 67 projects, policies and programs to strengthen the County. The process was driven by a goal to reach all communities by providing multiple formats for discussion, including large in-person workshops and smaller stakeholder sessions for traditionally underrepresented groups, from students to members of the homeless population.
Since adoption of the plan, Vibrant Communities has continued to improve the communities of LaPorte County through the County’s first ever comprehensive housing study and advocacy for the Healthcare Foundation’s initiative to be among Indiana’s top ten healthiest communities by 2030.