Angola applying for hometown collaboration initiative

March 27th, 2017

By Amy Oberlin | KPC News - The Herald Republican

The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs is now accepting applications for Generation 5 of the Hometown Collaboration Initiative, and the city of Angola plans to get involved.

State partners designed HCI for communities with a population of 25,000 or less that wish to promote the launch, survival and growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs; invest in place through community design, public space developments, local foods or other quality of life initiatives; or develop a new generation of local leaders.

The city of Angola wishes to join Auburn, Decatur and 10 other Indiana communities to be designated as a Hometown Collaboration Initiative community.

“I was able to attend Decatur’s public forum a few weeks ago and I was blown away by the quality of discussions had among community members and as a group as a whole,” said Steuben County Extension Educator Crystal Van Pelt. “They certainly generated valuable data based on public input, opinions and needs that evening. I would love to see that level of engagement make its way to Angola through the HCI process.”

Van Pelt and Maria Davis, Angola’s downtown services coordinator, have been assembling a community team for HCI and they welcome individuals and organizations to join them in the endeavor. The community team will manage all aspects of the local HCI effort.

HCI is a capacity-building program led by OCRA in a partnership with Ball State University’s Indiana Communities Institute and Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development. Together, these entities champion the core principles of HCI, one centered on the establishment and sustainability of a representative group of local residents that is dedicated to advancing the long-term vitality of their communities.

“HCI provides smaller communities with the ability to make a difference,” said Bo Beaulieu, Purdue Center for Regional Development Director and Extension Community Development Program Assistant Director. “HCI gives communities the tools, skills and strategies they need to make their hometowns the best that they can be.”

The HCI Generation 5 community teams will undergo an extensive training program to help focus their energy on one of three Building Blocks designed to build on their community development opportunities.

The Building Blocks include:

• Economy — Build a supportive community environment for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

• Leadership — Develop a new generation of local leaders who will take an active part in addressing community priorities.

• Placemaking — Invest in your place through creative quality of life initiatives related to public spaces, design, local foods and tourism, among others.

“Every community has strengths they utilize to make their homes a better place and HCI allows them to identify where they still have room to improve,” said David Terrell, Director of Ball State University’s Economic Development Policy. “The local HCI teams will develop a deep understanding of what their community needs to successfully maintain dedication of local leaders for years to come.”

For more information, or to become involved with the HCI application and planning process, contact Davis at 624-2698, or Van Pelt at 668-1000, ext. 1400, The deadline for inclusion in the community teams is rapidly approaching, said Van Pelt, requesting that those interested in serving make contact immediately.

Categories Regional Leadership