Jefferson County, IN
Vision and Strategic Plan

Nestled along a winding bend of the Ohio River, Jefferson County, Indiana, is a beautiful mix of agricultural fields, forests and rolling bluffs. The city of Madison and town of Hanover both have a long and proud history evidenced by their impressive stock of historic structures. Beyond its setting, the community also maintains an impressive list of industrial employers who drive the local economy. Despite these assets, the county suffers from low levels of personal prosperity, an aging population and challenged school districts. Determined to address these issues, a group of local business leaders initiated an effort to develop vision and action plan for the county’s future – and called on Planning NEXT to lead them.

The effort’s origins were notable

Area industry leaders recognized that by investing in an effort to strategically advance the region, they could potentially reverse negative trends and improve their own success. An immediate motivating factor were challenges finding and retaining skilled workers – largely attributed to the region’s quality of life.

An unprecedented plan and process

In a first-of-its-kind effort for southern Indiana, a 32-member citizen steering committee representing diverse groups was assembled to facilitate a process that would reach all the communities in Jefferson County. Branded ENVISION Jefferson County, the public process included several large-scale public workshops, attracted hundreds of participants and collected more than 2,000 ideas for the future and other input. The strategic plan includes a vision for the region and six initiatives, which are supported by 30 specific actions. Members of the steering committee have created an task force team to lead implementation of the action agenda.

Madison Recognized

In April 2015 the city of Madison was named one of the finalists in the American’s Best Communities competition which include $50,000 to develop comprehensive strategies to accelerate the revival of their local economies and improve quality of life. The semi-finalist are competing for a chance to win up to an additional $3 million to bring their plans and ideas to life. The city attributes this recognition to the work of ENVISION Jefferson County.


Project Type: vision/strategic plan
Community Type: county
Client: Consortium of nine industry leaders
Services: visioning, strategic planning