In 2011, SDG worked with the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to create a new economic development plan and vision for the entire county. LaGrange County is unique in that it has the highest concentration of Amish in the U.S. as a percent of the county’s population. This is significant because the Amish presence has provided the basis for a strong performance in both tourism and small business development in LaGrange County.
Project Overview and Schedule
A broad group of community stakeholders participated in the planning process which included both primary and secondary research in order to create a plan informed by sound economic information and shaped by community values and input. In order to encourage participation from both the English and Amish communities in LaGrange County, SDG held two public meetings and distributed a public survey that was available online and in printed copies.
LaGrange County’s lakes and parks were routinely identified as important quality of life assets in focus groups, stakeholder interviews, and in the public survey. The county’s natural resources were also seen as strengths that could bring in additional tourists. One of the action items in the plan calls for the EDC, working with appropriate partnering organizations, to support the development of multiuse trails connecting key tourism and natural assets across the county and neighboring counties.
The final LaGrange County Economic Development Plan includes:
- A vision of the county’s economic future
- A set of goals and objectives
- Action plans showing responsibilities, time schedules, benchmarks, and potential funding sources where appropriate
- A review of current sites in the community with special attention to infrastructure and thoroughfares
- An appendix fully documenting the planning process
- A schedule and process plan for revision and updating
- Boat ramp and walking trail at Pine Knob Park in LaGrange County.
- Amish horse-drawn buggies in LaGrange County.