Valpo Next: The blueprint for the city's future

2013-11-21T20:57:00Z 2013-11-22T12:58:09Z Valpo Next: The blueprint for the city's futurePhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com
November 21, 2013 8:57 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | The citywide vision plan has a name — Valpo Next — and a color scheme — blue and green. All it needs is the input of about 30,000 city residents to be complete.

The steering committee for Valpo Next held its second meeting Thursday as part of the yearlong process of developing a blueprint future city administrations can use to guide the growth of the city. The city plans to hold three large public meetings in February to hear residents' ideas for what that blueprint should look like.

To make sure word gets out about the meetings and the city's desire to hear from every segment of the community, the committee discussed ways of publicizing the effort via the standard media channels as well as reaching out to the people in a variety of ways.

The consulting firm of ACP Planning and Visioning, of Columbus, Ohio, helped the committee identify the many civic and demographic organizations and groups from all sectors of the community. The committee began designating volunteers to contact them and network to make sure as many people are aware of the project as possible.

Jamie Greene, principal with ACP, said personal contact from someone the person knows and trusts is the best way to encourage people to attend the sessions planned for the beginning of February at three locations around the city. One session will be an afternoon one and the others in the evening to try to reach more people.

After explaining the city's demographics and how they have changed over the past decade, Greene asked the members to list the city's assets and achievements that make it special, such as the downtown, the county's airport, Valparaiso University and the popcorn parade. They then voted on the design of the Valpo Next logo, which will be used extensively over the next 10 months to create awareness of the project.

A subcommittee developed the tagline for the logo: Valpo Next: Your Ideas; Our City's Future. This will be used on all communications, on the project's website and on Facebook. People will be able to provide input through virtual town hall meetings online in addition to the real public sessions.

The committee plans to meet again in January to finalize plans for the February public sessions. The information and ideas from those meetings will be analyzed and organized by the committee in April and the goal is to have a final report for the community by August or September.

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