The People

The Vibrant Communities Movement is supported by a broad network of individuals who care about improving quality of place across Elkhart County. Here are some of the groups involved.

You

Everyone has a role; Everyone can be a contributor … whether it’s picking up a litter in downtown or launching a festival, everyone in this community has an opportunity to participate in the Vibrant Communities movement. Vibrant Communities has flourished because of the involvement and feedback of Elkhart County residents who love the place that they live. No matter your background, your input contributed to the Action Agenda and now we need your help to champion the things you’re passionate about and work with us.

Ready to get involved? Great! Now tell us what your interests you, and we’ll find a place a place for you to plug into the movement.

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Task Forces

Following the completion of the Action Agenda three Task Forces were initiated to connect project champions with resources and leadership within the movement and prioritize action.

Active Transportation

The active transportation task force will be designing projects related to the different recreational opportunities in Elkhart County. Primarily, this includes efforts related to the waterways and the multi-use paths.

Informed by community input, we hope to increase the use of the county’s waterways by highlighting the waterways and access points. Elkhart County has beautiful rivers that don’t get as much use as we would like. We hope to address this via both projects and a marketing program.

We also hope to continue the development of the multi-use paths in Elkhart County. We hope to further develop the pathways connecting the different towns in Elkhart County, and ultimately create a more connected community, with opportunities to travel further via biking and walking.

Housing

Elkhart County, like much of the country, lacks sufficient housing in a number of cost ranges. Houses between $130,000 and $250,000 are particularly scarce, as are opportunities to ‘age in place’ in walkable communities. This task force seeks to identify and execute some community projects to address the mismatch between housing needs and the housing stock in Elkhart County, including opportunities that focus and new, renovated, and repurposed housing.

The housing task force will seek to coordinate their efforts with other groups concerned with housing in Elkhart County – namely housing projects within the broader umbrella of the regional cities program, and coordinating with the different localities within Elkhart County.

Communication

The communications task force hopes to unify the communications and marketing efforts within Elkhart County to highlight community assets and events. We will work on branding at the county level, as well as for individual towns and localities. We hope these efforts will allow areas in Elkhart County to highlight both their unique traits as well as the broader community they contribute to.

A second focus area for the communications group is to allow for more collaboration and communication between cities, organizations, and the public. This will ultimately increase the visibility of events and activities within Elkhart County. Recent trends have shown that communities benefit from thinking at a regional-community level rather than at the level of small communities.

Community Champions Roundtable

Because Vibrant Communities believes in the connection between quality of place and economic vitality, the movement has convened the Community Champions Roundtable, formerly known as the Steering Committee. The Roundtable is an advocacy group bringing together people who are engaged in placemaking ideas and initiatives in Elkhart County. Meetings are intended to foster communication and collaboration among community leaders and organizations. The Roundtable meets bi-monthly in locations across the county.

Leadership Team

Providing overall direction and coordination on top of the movement, the Leadership Team includes representation from each of the Vibrant Communities groups. The team provides ongoing logistical support and helps to connect people to the movement.

Sponsors

From the very beginning, the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau have provided monetary and in-kind support to the Vibrant Communities movement. Their continued support is felt in specific initiatives such as the little BIG Ideas Grant or the community implementation workshops.