MERRILLVILLE | Several hundred stakeholders gathered Tuesday at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza for the official unveiling of the 2012 Quality of Life Indicators Report issued by One Region.
One Region is a recent merger of the Northwest Indiana Quality of Life Council and the One Region, One Vision initiative started by The Times Media Co.
The full-color 66-page report from the One Region research committee includes a dashboard graphic for each of the categories to show if that indicator has improved, remained unchanged or worsened.
Research committee consultant Tina Rongers of Karnerblue Era, LLC of Valparaiso and her team gathered the information for the study that was financed by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation managed by the Legacy Foundation based in Merrillville.
The fourth such report on quality of life issues compiled since 2000, this version gives a baseline view of Northwest Indiana 2010 (the latest year for data) and serves “as a relevant tool for One Region to use in its civic engagement,” said Leigh Morris, chairman of the Regional Development Authority, a One Region board member and chairman of the report’s research committee.
It also fulfills three primary purposes, he said:
• To provide objective assessment of conditions in 10 categories considered to be leading indicators of the quality of life in Northwest Indiana including people, the economy, environmental, transportation, education, health, public safety, housing, culture and government.
• To identify and evaluate trends in each of these categories during the period from 2000 to 2010 based on available data.
• To stimulate dialogue and actions that address opportunities to enhance the quality of life.
“The 2012 Quality of Life Indicators Report is a portrait of a region in transition,” said Dennis Rittenmeyer, executive director of One Region.
“Many barriers and disparities remain, and there are substantial gaps in our knowledge of the facts about Northwest Indiana,” he said. “But, there are also opportunities for conversation, leadership and action. This makes it an exciting time to focus on quality of life.”
Research Committee members reported on the findings in the 10 categories including Danita Johnson Hughes of Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living; Lincoln Ellis, The Boys & Girls Club of NWI; Mark Reshkin, emeritus faculty, Indiana University Northwest; Lou Martinez of Lake Area United Way; Ric Frataccia of Portage Township Schools; Linda Satkoski of IU Health LaPorte Hospital; Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter; Denise Dillard of Methodist Hospitals; Kris Pate of United Way of LaPorte County and Thomas Keon of Purdue University Calumet.
A panel of region leaders provided reaction to the reports.