Downard to lead Imagine One85 initiative

Downard to lead Imagine One85 initiative Main Photo

3 Oct 2022


Wabash County, IN  – On behalf of the Imagine One85 Steering Committee, Grow Wabash County is thrilled to announce that they have contracted with Alex Downard of Downard Development Strategies (DDS) to organize and execute various community initiatives that align with the Imagine One85 countywide comprehensive strategic plan. 

Imagine One85 is the comprehensive planning initiative undertaken by community leaders in Wabash County that has been spearheaded by Grow Wabash County, the Community Foundation of Wabash County, and local government leaders from across the community.  

Thanks in part to grant funding from the Lilly Endowment Gift VII initiative and leaders, stakeholders and community members of Wabash County have spent the past two-plus years working together to develop a countywide strategic comprehensive plan with the goal to arrest and reverse decades of population decline. The Imagine One85 plan is now finalized and has been adopted by all governing bodies in Wabash County.

As Imagine One85 Director, Downard Development Strategies will take the lead on activating community members and organizations to prioritize, implement, and achieve the 85 recommendations outlined in the countywide comprehensive plan. 

“We are thrilled to contract with Alex and Downard Development Strategies to lead the implementation of the recommendations outlined in the Imagine One85 plan that our community has worked so hard on over the last couple of years,” said Keith Gillenwater, president and CEO of Grow Wabash County.  “We have worked with Alex often, dating back to his time as a college intern for Grow Wabash County while he was studying at Manchester University. We are confident that Alex and DDS will hit the ground running on these efforts.” 

Downard, a resident of Wabash County and a 2020 graduate from Manchester University, established DDS in 2021. He demonstrates ample professional experience in project management, business development, and other public affairs, and through his community service on the Manchester Alive board of directors and participation in the Indiana Leadership Forum.

The Imagine One85 plan includes initiatives relating to housing, workforce, early childhood education, rural broadband, and other quality of life opportunities to arrest and reverse Wabash County’s population decline. 

Further information about the Imagine One85 initiative as well as the full text of the plan can be found at 

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