The Environmental Issues Committee
The LWVIC is a founding member of the Sustainable Indiana County Task Force
In early 2017 a letter was drafted and sent to the Indiana County Commissioners by a groundswell of concerned people representing the League of Women Voters of Indiana County, Evergreen Conservancy, and the Center for Community Growth, all groups concerned with the future of a sustainable Indiana County. The organizations called for a task force to be formed that would invite a diverse group of members from the community to join together to look at ways to make the county more sustainable.
In May 2017, the Indiana County Commissioners established the Indiana County Sustainable Economic Development Task Force in partnership with Evergreen Conservancy, the Center for Community Growth, and League of Women Voters of Indiana County. The Task Force was a citizen-driven and citizen-based process which grew out of the April 2017 Sustainable Econnomic Summit.
The Indiana County Sustainable Economic Development Task Force was launched to the public on September 28, 2017. The time line was laid out for the task force’s direction:
- January 2017 The Center for Community Growth, League of Women Voters of Indiana County and Evergreen Conservancy write to request that the County Commissioners convene a Task Force
- April 2017 the first Sustainable Economic Summit is held, sponsored by LWVPA Citizen Education Fund, promoting Clean Energy Economy and Job Creation from Sustainability Initiatives.
- May 2017 Commissioners establish Task Force, to promote economic development, provide good jobs and keep communities healthy in a sustainable economy.
- June 2017 Steering Committee Convenes to Develop plan of action, including action items for Task Force, for Sustainable Economic Development
- July 2017 Website www.sustainableindianacounty.org goes live
- September 2017 Full Task Force launched, and tasked with identifying new opportunities in economic development, education, and workforce development in four focus areas: agriculture, renewable energy, building construction and materials, and environmental restoration and stewardship.
- October 2017-May 2018 Task Force Focus Groups meet monthly to define assets, develop grids and “Big Ideas,” etc.
- May 2018 Task Force awarded Local Foods, Local Places Technical Assistance from Federal Government
- June 2018 Stakeholder Listening Sessions held July – September 2018 Each Focus group to meet to develop their plan.
- September 28 2018 Summit II and Unveiling of Final Report of Recommendations from the Task Force
The mission of the Task Force was to identify new opportunities in four sectors: agriculture, renewable energy, building construction and materials, and environmental restoration and stewardship. Within each sector, the focus group members concentrated on three key pillars: economic development, workforce development, and citizen education. Participatory focus groups, comprised of local stakeholders, including businesses, grass roots organizations, and educators, were formed for each of the four sectors and met monthly over a nine-month period.
Through this grass roots process, each focus group identified challenges within Indiana County and proposed strategies, solutions, and actions that can move the County toward a more sustainable economic future.
The meetings were held with many discussions with and diverse groups of participants. A report was developed. The report generated fulfilled the initial mission of the Task Force to identify specific strategies for local economic development that involve innovation, forwar-thinking, education, practical training, meaningful employment, and citizen engagement. This report did not complete Indiana County’s path to a more sustainable economy. Rather it is a reflection and continuation of the forward-thinking direction already underway. View the report here.
Since that report a third very successful Summit was held to showcase what has been done so far and learn what might be done in the future. The task force continues to grow ideas and make things happen.
The LWV Indiana County is proud of the role we played in the formation of the task force and the continuing role we play in helping to make positive things happen in our county.
Sustainable Indiana County Task Force