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Angola HCI forum will address placemaking, leadership, economy

By Ashlee Hoos 

Mar 12, 2018 Updated March 13, 2018

ANGOLA — The registration numbers are in, and 97 people signed up to attend Thursday’s Hometown Collaboration Initiative Community Forum at Angola High School.

Registration begins at 5 p.m. and the forum kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the cafeteria common area at the high school, 350 S. John McBride Ave.

The initiative is a partnership between the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Purdue University and Ball State University.

The goal of the initiative is to implement and execute a project that will create long-term community changes. It would come with $10,000 in funding from OCRA.

Those in attendance will participate in three rounds of activities that community coach Crystal Van Pelt said will reference results from the community survey that was given in the area last fall.

“We will be up and moving during the three rounds of activities,” she said.

Angola Downtown Services Coordinator Maria Davis said those that didn’t register may still attend the forum, but there may not be enough food to feed extra attendees. Those still wishing to attend may contact her at downtown@angolain.org.

The survey results show 953 respondents. Of those 953, a total of 856 indicated they lived in Angola. Also of those 953 respondents, 486 were employed or attended school in Angola. The survey required respondents to live, study or work in Angola. Slightly more than 37 percent of respondents were currently enrolled high school students.

The HCI program looks at placemaking, economy and leadership in a community and has community members give input on what they feel is important in their community.

Angola’s top three placemaking items people want to see improved were arts and cultural activities, parks and trails and downtown. Results in this area also indicated there are opportunities to create more activities for young adults, teens and their families.

Economic activities people felt need addressed were retaining existing business, expanding youth careers and learning how to start and run a successful business.

Important topics under leadership were promoting a culture of inclusion, providing leadership skills training to area youth and improving interpersonal skills of current leaders.

The entire event is family friendly, said Davis, and there will be giveaways at the event as well as crafts for children.

Van Pelt said one of the items being given away is a state park pass, provided by the Steuben County Tourism Bureau.

“I am excited to get the community’s input and think this is an excellent step in developing a project that has true community support,” Van Pelt said. “Even if this grant funding from OCRA and the City is for $10,000, the community input we are receiving through the survey and the forum is priceless.”

For those wishing to review the survey ahead of time or out of curiosity, it is available at http://www.indianahci.org/downloads/angola/angola-survey-report.pdf.

A results report similar to the survey results will be posted a few weeks after the forum for those unable to attend but still curious about the topics discussed on the Indiana HCI website, indianahci.org.