Imagine One85 strategic plan announced at State of Communities event

Wabash County, IN (Feb. 14, 2020) – A new countywide plan to address population decline was announced on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at Grow Wabash County’s annual State of Our Communities event.

Imagine One85 was named in part by Wabash County’s county number: 85. This project will involve formulating a comprehensive strategic plan that includes input from every incorporated community in Wabash County about what the county needs to do to arrest and reverse the trend of declining population in the area.

This plan is the result of extensive work with community stakeholders and outside consultants to determine the factors that have already led to population decline in Wabash County and methods to change the narrative and stimulate population growth.

“The intent is to have this comprehensive strategic plan become the thread that unites all of Wabash County communities around a commitment to grow Wabash County’s population,” Keith Gillenwater. “The plan will also include the goals and needs of each community to ensure that their individual towns and cities are growing in ways that align with their values and visions for the future.”

The Community Foundation of Wabash County intends to apply for the Lilly Endowment GIFT VII Implementation Grant to help cover the costs of the expansive plan. Manchester University has committed to providing an additional $50,000 to the project. Fundraising efforts are underway to acquire the rest of the funds needed to develop and implement the plan.

During Wednesday’s event, leaders from the Wabash County Commissioners and Wabash County’s cities and towns centered their presentations around this topic of population growth and how their communities were working to develop.

The community speakers featured were: Brian Haupert from the Wabash County Commissioners, Kristie Bone from the Town of Lagro, Bob Ferguson from the Town of Roann, Diana Heath from the Town of LaFontaine, Allen Miracle from the Town of North Manchester and Mayor Scott Long from the City of Wabash.

At the conclusion of the event, representatives from Wabash County and the area cities and towns demonstrated their commitment to this bold initiative by signing an enlarged copy of a letter of support addressed to the Lilly Foundation.

As the event attendees exited Legacy Hall on Wednesday, they were also invited to show their support for population growth initiatives by signing a banner laid out in the lobby.

We are thankful to all of the local companies and individuals that showed their support for this annual event by signing on as event sponsors.

Gold sponsors for this event included: Downs, Tandy & Petruniw, P.C.; The Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana; Paperworks Industries, Inc.; G6 Communications LLC; MPS Egg Farms; and Parkview Wabash Hospital.

Silver sponsors for this event included: Andy Zay; Lundquist Appraisals & Real Estate; The Paper of Wabash County, Inc.; Crossroads Bank; and the Town of North Manchester.

Bronze sponsors for this event included: Beacon Credit Union; Bippus State Bank; Briner Building, Inc.; John H. Stephens RLS; Star Excavating; Transform Consulting Group; Visit Wabash County; Duke Energy; Jones Contracting, Inc.; White’s Residential & Family Services, Inc.; Manchester University; Flagstar Bank; Right to Life of North Central Indiana; OJI Intertech; Doug Lehman, PC; Wabash Carnegie Public Library; and NIPSCO.

Download the full press release here.