The program, launched in 2013 by BBC and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, recognizes Indiana communities making innovative strides in improving quality of life for residents, visitors and businesses.
Finalists will be honored at the Primacy of Place Community Awards Luncheon on Aug. 7 at Minnetrista in Muncie. Winners will be announced and receive an original award designed by artists in Ball State’s Marilyn K Glick Center for Glass, a 30-second promotional video highlighting the winning community’s dedication to primacy of place efforts and two complimentary tickets to the 2014 Primacy of Place Conference on Oct. 16 in Indianapolis.
The 2014 finalists are:
City of Rushville (Population 6,204): Each summer since 2005, Rushville has offered a free concert series at its Riverside Park Amphitheater, featuring a diverse lineup of local, regional, nation and international performers. The amphitheater has hosted more than 65,450 concert-goers, with up to 40 percent coming from out of town.
City of Madison (Population 12,049): More than 100 churches, nonprofits and social service organizations have come together to create “the Clearinghouse,” a one-stop service center for southeastern Indiana families in need of services. The facility includes office space, classroom and multipurpose rooms, a computer lab and information referral center.
City of Jasper (Population 15,309): The Jasper Downtown + Riverfront Master Plan sets forth strategies for redevelopment and reinforces – and celebrates – Jasper’s unique character and inherent strengths. It builds on the cherished assets of Jasper to attract and keep the next generation of citizens.
Perry County (Population 19,558): The Perry County Quality of Life Committee was formed to enhance perceived and actual quality of life for residents and visitors. The committee focuses on walking and biking trails, beautification efforts, shopping and natural highlights, and festivals and special events including a New Year’s Eve celebration, Silvesternacht.
City of Westfield (Population 33,382): The city hopes to establish a flagship recreational venue, niche industry and economic development anchor for future growth with the completion of the $35 million sports campus at Grand Park. This facility will include 400 acres with 31 soccer/multipurpose fields, 26 baseball/softball diamonds, and 10 miles of interconnected walking trails.
City of Jeffersonville (Population 45,929): Jeffersonville has dedicated substantial efforts and resources to open the Big Four Bridge connecting the city to Louisville, Ky., across the Ohio River for walkers, joggers and bicyclists. In addition to downtown revitalization, Jeffersonville will unveil Big Four Station, a new $5 million park at the foot of the bridge, in October.
City of Lafayette (Population 70,373): MatchBOX Coworking Studio is a co-working space in downtown Lafayette for entrepreneurs, strategists and artists interested in starting or growing businesses. The space, created with help from more than 20 community and corporate partners, offers 24-hour secure access, complimentary refreshments, flexible space, conference rooms and Internet.
Eastern Hamilton/Southern Tipton Counties (Population about 150,000): Nickel Plate Arts supports, promotes and provides outstanding arts experiences in the six communities along the historic Nickel Plate Railroad. The group works to integrate visual and performing arts, support local professional artists, and connect communities, artists and residents.
Greater Lafayette/Tippecanoe County (Population 180,174): Lafayette’s Read to Succeed program motivated hundreds of community volunteers to spend one hour per week in local classrooms helping third-grade children develop and enhance essential literacy skills.
The PoPCAP awards are one part of Ball State’s Primacy of Place initiative to help Indiana communities put human interests at the center of economic development by nurturing wellness, happiness and prosperity. The initiative’s website (primacyofplace.com) includes best practice resources for community leaders in six key areas: arts integration, educational excellence, community design, community well-being, municipal governance and readiness for change.