2017 is going to be fantastic year.

How do we know that? Well, you’re reading this, for starters.

Vibrant Communities launched with much hope in January 2016 and, with the voices of hundreds of you echoing in our ears throughout spring 2016, we have reached this moment when the possibilities for our future could not seem brighter. You packed meeting rooms to share what you loved about your hometown and what you wanted to see more of. From that came the Action Agenda.

Our beautiful downtowns and neighborhoods, from Nappanee to Middlebury, from Elkhart and Goshen to Bristol and Wakarusa, stand on the brink of some wonderful changes. Parks and trails are in the planning stages. Entrepreneurs are finding opportunity to do what they know best, in the location of their choosing. Neighbors are coming together to put in their sweat equity to make their town a more beautiful place. You helped make that happen.

Now it’s time to take the next step. Smart people are coming together for meetings, to plan workshops, to put creative energy into innovative and exciting projects — where do you see yourself helping out? We’d love for you to get involved.

Communities are strongest when they can satisfy the needs of residents to live comfortably, enjoy free time with family and friends, and build friendships with their neighbors. Strong communities understand the priorities of residents and act as passionate stewards of those values. Communities must continually invest and pursue efforts that develop the qualities and strengths that residents value.

Think of it as how we make a house our home. When we move into a house, we have the basics — rooms, heat, electricity, furniture — but it’s how we live in that space that gives it our personality. It feels comfortable and we want to invest more of our emotions and energy into it.

When you love where you live — your house, your neighborhood, your downtown — you want to make it better for everyone. That’s why we hope you’ll join us.

Arvis Dawson & Suzie Weirick, co-chairs, Vibrant Communities Implementation Steering Committee

Get Involved

Share your thoughts online!

The Process

Vibrant Communities worked through 2016 to engage Elkhart County residents to identify the top ideas that became part of the Action Agenda.

Answers to common questions

Why is this being done?

Communities are strongest when they can satisfy the needs of residents to live comfortably, enjoy free time with family and friends, and build friendships with their neighbors. Strong communities understand the priorities of its residents and act as passionate stewards of those features. To maintain this in the future, communities must continue to invest and champion efforts that enhance the overall quality of place.


Who is taking the lead in this process?

The process is being led by a 27-member Steering Committee representing a wide range of interests from across our county. The group is made up of community leaders, elected officials, and residents. A full list of Steering Committee members and their affiliations included below.

Why now?

This is an important moment in time for our county’s communities. Factors such as aesthetics, arts and culture, and connectivity are becoming more important as people choose where they live. As a county, we must continue to be proactive to retain and attract talented young people, encourage new investment, and promote our communities as exceptional places for residents and businesses to put down roots.

What do we hope to accomplish?

The Action Agenda’s projects, policies and programs address many aspects of life in Elkhart County, from parks and aesthetics, to the arts and building stronger connections among communities, to enhancing communications. We will advocate for the Action Agenda and assist local government and community groups to help them become a reality.


How will this impact me?

If you live in Elkhart County, this process could impact you. If you care about the kind of communities your children and/or grandchildren will inherit, this process needs your input. It’s critical that you get involved. Several large and small-scale meetings will be convened during the process where we’ll ask hard questions and form recommendations.

How is this different than past plans?

The Vibrant Communities Action Agenda will build off of past planning efforts, but focus squarely on quality-of-place opportunities. The Action Agenda has proposed projects, policies and programs for communities within the county. The focus on 2017 will be on prioritizing and implementing those projects, policies and programs.


More questions addressed in Frequently Asked Questions, click here

Get involved…

1. Help spread the word about the process.

2. Volunteer to help make the actions a reality.

3. Attend an Implementation Workshop throughout 2017.