Culture and Recreation

Thank You ABC Supporters

Posted on
The team that presented Valparaiso’s plans to the America’s Best Communities judging committee in Durham, NC included, left to right: Mayor Jon Costas; Clerk Treasurer, Sharon Swihart; Flint Lake Elementary Art Teacher, Jessica Corral; Principal of Planning NEXT, Jamie Greene; Planning Director, Tyler Kent.

The City of Valparaiso extends its gratitude to all of the people and organizations that supported the city in the America’s Best Community competition. “Based on the support of our community and the partnerships we’ve made, we are confident that Valparaiso IS America’s Best Community,” said Mayor Jon Costas. “We’re proud to have been selected in the top 15 for the nation and the momentum we’ve built will ensure that the Creative District becomes a reality, title or not,” he said.

Last week, Valparaiso’s ABC representatives traveled to Durham, North Carolina to present the city’s plan to a judging committee. While Valparaiso did not advance into the finals, the team returned home with a $25,000 award to continue implementing plans for a downtown arts district.

“We’d like to thank everyone who had a hand in getting Valparaiso to the top 15 and for all the energy, ideas, and inspiration,” said Tyler Kent, Valpo’s Planning Director whose department took the lead in directing the process in Valparaiso. He, along with Mayor Costas and Flint Lake Elementary Art Teacher Jessica Corral were among those who traveled to the North Carolina for the presentation.

Kent and the city extend special thanks to the Valpo ABC team, which includes Aimee Tomasek, Bill Oeding, David Lee, Eric Johnson, Jessica Corral, Laura Campbell, Lisa Kiger, Maria Luisa Garcia – Verdugo, Matt Evans, Patrick Lyp, Rex Richards, Mary Jane Thomas, and Tyler Kent. Special thanks also to the entire art community and all who participated in meetings about the Creative District. The city also wishes to thank Jimmy Craig and Joyce Wady from Adtran who co-sponsored the city; and both Domenico Fornaro and Lawrence Gaines, local managers from Frontier Communications, a sponsor of the ABC competition. Thanks also to Jamie Greene and Planning NEXT for assistance in creating the ValpoNEXT Vision Plan and plan for the Creative District.

The ABC competition is sponsored by Frontier Communications, CoBank, The Weather Channel, and Dish TV. Designed to motivate communities in revitalization efforts, the competition now continues with eight finalists on a quest to be named America’s Best Community and winner of a $3 million prize. For more information about the competition and Valparaiso’s journey, visit americasbestcommunities.com.

Pictured in Image: The team that presented Valparaiso’s plans to the America’s Best Communities judging committee in Durham, NC included, left to right: Mayor Jon Costas; Clerk Treasurer, Sharon Swihart; Flint Lake Elementary Art Teacher, Jessica Corral; Principal of Planning NEXT, Jamie Greene; Planning Director, Tyler Kent.

Sense of Place

ValpoNEXT at American Planning Association National Conference

Posted on

Tyler Kent, Valparaiso Planning Director, and Jamie Greene, AIA, FAICP, Principal at Planning Next, presented at the American Planning Association’s National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on April 2-5, 2016. The session, titled Unintimidated: Small Towns, Big Results, highlights the award winning planning effort behind ValpoNEXT and One City, One Vision Strategic Plan (Anniston, Alabama). The work behind these plans certainly does not end when the document is printed.

The panelists discussed how small communities can tackle great odds to manage outstanding planning processes through strong leadership, a focus on quality of place, and innovative approaches to engagement that generate emotional attachment. The presentation described how the City of Valparaiso is confronted with obstacles and challenges, communities can go with the trends and accept the status quo or take action to inspire change. The choice to be proactive has led to outstanding planning processes, surpassing expectations and resulting in significant implementation and high returns on investment.

Tyler and Jamie spoke to several hundred fellow planners about the ValpoNEXT process which included a nurturing and strong leadership to facilitate a bold vision, emphasis on creating quality of place to attract investment, and public emotional attachment through innovative approaches to public engagement. The City persevered and built momentum throughout the process, challenging the perceived limits of what smaller communities can do to take charge of their futures.

Culture and Recreation

Creative District Planning Award Presented to City Council

Posted on

<iframe width=”853″ height=”480″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/KOJGw1JSfRQ?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=””></iframe>

Earlier this year, the Creative District Plan was honored with a 2016 Hoosier Planning Award by the Indiana American Planning Association. These annual awards showcase the profession of planning and celebrate Indiana’s finest projects and people. The “Outstanding Plan” award was presented to the City of Valparaiso’s Planning Director, Tyler Kent. A video was created summarizing the materials and people that led to the selection of Valparaiso’s Creative District Plan.

Recently, Valparaiso’s Planning Department presented the Hoosier Planning Award to city council.