In early 2017 a letter was drafted and sent to the Indiana County Commissioners by a groundswell of concerned people representing the League of Women Voters of Indiana County, Evergreen Conservancy, and the Center for Community Growth, all groups concerned with the future of a sustainable Indiana County. The organizations called for a task force to be formed that would invite a diverse group of members from the community to join together to look at ways to make the county more sustainable.
In May 2017, the Indiana County Commissioners established the Indiana County Sustainable Economic Development Task Force in partnership with Evergreen Conservancy, the Center for Community Growth, and League of Women Voters of Indiana County. The Task Force was a citizen-driven and citizen-based process which grew out of the April 2017 Sustainable Econnomic Summit.
The Indiana County Sustainable Economic Development Task Force was launched to the public on September 28, 2017. The time line was laid out for the task force’s direction:
The mission of the Task Force was to identify new opportunities in four sectors: agriculture, renewable energy, building construction and materials, and environmental restoration and stewardship. Within each sector, the focus group members concentrated on three key pillars: economic development, workforce development, and citizen education. Participatory focus groups, comprised of local stakeholders, including businesses, grass roots organizations, and educators, were formed for each of the four sectors and met monthly over a nine-month period.
Through this grass roots process, each focus group identified challenges within Indiana County and proposed strategies, solutions, and actions that can move the County toward a more sustainable economic future.
Since that report a third very successful Summit was held on October 4th, 2019 to showcase what has been done so far and learn what might be done in the future. The task force continues to grow ideas and make things happen. Planning for a 4th virtual Summit is being developed for the Spring of 2021.
The LWV Indiana County is proud of the role we played in the formation of the task force and the continuing role we play in helping to make positive things happen in our county.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.