One Region, the organization resulting from the merger of the former Quality-of-Life Council and the One Region One Vision initiative, is off to a great start.
Having been formed in May, we recently held our successful annual meeting, we just released our best Quality of Life Indicators Report, and we have 16 action projects under way.
In his address to the more than 600 people who attended the Sept. 27 annual meeting, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels described both our region’s successes and our challenges yet to be resolved.
In commenting on the "one region" goal, he said, "Let's be honest; we are not there yet".
Clearly, the goal of One Region is both admirable and challenging. We can all admit we have difficulty getting our communities in one county to work together, let alone multiple communities in three counties. The challenge is to find issues on which we can agree and move forward to improve the quality of life for all our citizens. And, to quote a military phrase, "leave no one behind."
The 2012 Indicators Report is not only the most attractive and well presented of the reports produced in past years, but it is also the most consistent and most accurate. Within days, more than 300 copies of the report were distributed. We are currently in our second printing.
This report will serve as a benchmark from which numerous conversations and projects should be generated. Government officials, not-for-profit administrators, grant writers and academics will all find the data in this report to be the best available on our region.
The former Quality of Life Council had a very strong connection to our six colleges and universities. Many of our quarterly meetings were hosted by our local colleges and universities. However, many lamented that these discussions were frequently just that -- discussions. There wasn't a clear connection to deliberate action designed to address the issues raised.
The One Region organization is addressing that shortcoming through its very specific "action projects." These projects, ranging from education to public safety and from the environment to health care and veterans affairs, hold the promise of making significant progress in our quality of life.
The idea is simple. Pick a project, work on it to completion, and then pick another one. It is a true “quality assurance” methodology designed to address the most important issues that affect each of us.
Our goal is simple. We want to move the needle! We want to make the indicator trend line read, “improving”!
I am grateful that our community leaders have embraced this new organization while not duplicating any other existing activity or organization. The progress we make should be well reported by the media so our citizens can judge whether their quality of life is improving. Future editions of the Indicators Report should show we have improved the quality of life throughout our region.
Dennis Rittenmeyer is executive director of One Region. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.