What would allow us to… improve housing access and availability in Monroe County? Better connect local workers with quality jobs? Strengthen amenities like infrastructure, public transit, childcare, services and more?
If you have been touched by any of the above – or have ideas for improving these aspects of our community – you are officially invited to participate in the Economic Vitality Project (EVP). The EVP is a new initiative aimed at improving the lives of our neighbors around Bloomington, Ellettsville and all areas of Monroe County. To register and learn more, complete the two-minute engagement survey by July 15 at www.bloomingtonedc.com/evp.
What does the Economic Vitality Project do? The EVP brings together people from Monroe County to (1) identify opportunities and challenges we can address together as a community, (2) better support existing efforts to improve our community and economy, and (3) catalyze further action to fill the gaps. It works to advance improvements in housing, workforce development, infrastructure, employment and quality of life.
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Why is it necessary…hasn’t our community done other projects? Our community is rich in programs and studies, but has room to grow when it comes to creating a shared vision and taking action across our silos. The EVP links nearly 40 studies and plans that address different aspects of life in Monroe County. These topics are often interrelated and therefore need to be addressed together. For example, housing cannot be discussed without also addressing topics such as salaries, public transport and infrastructure. EVP provides a way to create a shared vision and coordinate solutions across sectors and organizations.
What has been done so far and what is the next step? On June 28, the steering and advisory committees of the VPE launched their work. Over the next few months, working groups will shape actions focused on housing, workforce development, infrastructure, quality of life and employment. Interviews and surveys with community members will help guide this work. The resulting plans will begin to be implemented in 2023.
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Can I help? Yes! We seek broad community representation through our working groups and committees, to better inform and ensure the success of this project. You can: (1) register to participate in the two-minute engagement survey at http://www.bloomingtonedc.com/evp; (2) spread the word by sharing this article and the survey with colleagues, neighbors and community groups; (3) provide financial support or leads for grants and funding, by contacting Bloomington Economic Development Corp.
It takes all of us to create a community that we are all proud of. Working together, sharing our aspirations and building solutions is essential to success. Economic vitality will be fostered by working together to define who we want to be as a community. We can achieve this vision together. We invite you to the table.
Jennifer Pearl is president of Bloomington Economic Development Corp.