Nappanee, Wakarusa working together to build future for residents of all ages

Everyone in the Nappanee and Wakarusa area — from infants and children to senior citizens — stands to gain from an ambitious plan to build a new soccer park and strengthen the services available to all residents. Taken together, the plan touches upon several points in the Nappanee/Wakarusa Action Agenda addressing quality of place issues.

But it’s not just about efficiency. The plan, called Wa-Nee Vision 2020 by local leaders, required an extraordinary amount of collaboration among four major entities in the area.

Mark Mikel, the executive director of the Family Christian Development Center (one of the entities involved), writes about what this means for this community.

In the summer of 2014, an idea began to hatch that when brought to life would transform the delivery of social services to the Wa-Nee community.

The mayor of Nappanee at that time, Larry Thompson, began to pull together a group of individuals from the organizations involved, and the pieces began to come together. If the city built a premier soccer field in the new park, and the schools let Boys and Girls Club have the old soccer field to build their new building, then Family Christian Development Center could renovate and move into the current Boys and Girls Club space, and the city could have the current FCDC property to construct a new parking lot downtown. Elder Haus needed updating and renovation of their facility in the old Central School.

The plan came together, and in 2017 Wa-Nee Vision 2020 was launched to raise $5.75 million dollars as a unified campaign to fund all of the projects that were connected to each other.

Leaders from the various entities along with key community leaders have formed the committee overseeing this massive capital campaign. Donors have the ability to pledge over a five-year period to fund the multiple projects. More importantly, the show of unity and cooperation between five different and distinct agencies is sending a message of collaboration to the community and becoming the template for towns and cities throughout the nation.

Wa-Nee Vision 2020 has provided the towns of Nappanee and Wakarusa with a rallying point and a challenge to prepare them for the year 2020 and beyond. The energy and vision of many has come together to offer the community a chance to once again show their unity and compassion from the cradle to the grave. Lives from newborn babies to senior citizens will be transformed through this amazing project.

That all sounds pretty exciting to us. And we love that leaders found a way to work together and coordinate efforts for the greater good.

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