Access to Goods and Services
Maps of Goods and Services available to the residents of San Pierre.

The following maps locate the goods and services available within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre. San Pierre is shown by an asterisk in the center of the 14 counties which comprise Northwest Indiana. The circular lines surrounding San Pierre mark a 10 mile radius, a 20 mile radius, and a 30 mile radius from town. Note: these distances are "as the crow flies," not "as the car drives," meaning actual travel distances will often be much greater than this radius indicates. Beyond 35 miles, one has entered the neighboring state of Illinois, and beyond 40 miles the state of Michigan. Chicago is roughly 50 miles northwest, just beyond the scope of these maps. South Bend and the University of Notre Dame are 50 miles to the northeast, shown as a gray area in northern St. Joseph County on these maps. The city of Lafayette and Purdue University are 50 miles straight south of San Pierre, just at the bottom edge of these maps, south of White County. The black squiggly line running horizontally through these maps, just north of San Pierre, is the Kankakee River, flowing west toward Illinois, and eventually into the Mississippi River. The yellow lines are State Roads, orange lines are US Highways, red lines are Interstate Highways, and Green lines are Toll Roads. The light blue shaded areas denote lakes, rivers, and other major bodies of water. The green shaded areas are State and National Parks. The large green area just south of San Pierre is the Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area, home to tens of thousands of migrating sandhill cranes twice a year.


"We need a gas station!"
- the very first comment at our first Toown Meeting

"I have to use a quarter of a tank just to drive to get gas."
- comment from our second Town Meeting

The residents of San Pierre need a gas station. As these maps will show, access to goods and services is very limited within a 20 mile radius of San Pierre. This means that residents of San Pierre have to drive long distances to get the basic supplies of everyday life that should be available closer to home: groceries, hardware, clothing, education, and health care. As a result, residents of San Pierre spend much more time in their cars than other citizens in Indiana.

At a town meeting, one resident said if she wants to take her kids for ice cream after dinner, she has to pile them all in the car and drive a half an hour each way to find an ice cream shop. Many residents work in Valparaiso (25 miles away) or even Lafayette (50 miles away). One resident gets up at 4am to drive to work in Chicago everyday.

A map of all the Gas Stations within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.


"I usually drive to Valpo to get groceries - 45 minutes each way - because they have a better selection. I'd rather drive that far than eat the food they sell at a convenience store."
- comment at our second Town Meeting

"With all the farms in the area, it's surprising we don't have a farmers' market."
- comment from our second Town Meeting

The second most requested item by the residents of San Pierre was a grocery store. Most of the grocery options within ten miles of San Pierre are convenience stores attached to gas stations. Healthier food, fresher produce, and better prices are mainly available at the bigger chain stores 25-30 miles away.

Many farms in the area provide opportunities to buy fresh food - pick your own blueberries, pick your own pumpkins, etc - but many of these healthy local options are seasonal. Currently there is no organized farmers' market in the San Pierre area. Many residents in town meetings and in surveys responded positively to the idea of hosting such a market in San Pierre. This was seen as a great way to gain access to fresh foods, and as a way for San Pierre to reconnect with the neighboring agricultural community in Railroad Township.

A map of all the Grocery Stores within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.

A map of all the Banks within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.

A map of all the Hotels, Motels and Lodging within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.

A map of all the Hardware Stores within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.

A map of all the Antique Stores within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.

A map of all the Churches within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.

A map of all the Hospitals within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.

A map of all the K-12 Schools within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.

A map of all the Colleges and Universities within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.

A map of all the Libraries within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.

A map of Entertainment within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre
- Amusement Parks, Bowling Alleys, Dance Studios, Movie Theaters, Race Tracks and Roller Rinks.

A map of all the Hunting and Fishing Areas within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.

A map of all the Golf Courses within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.

We found over 800 churches within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre. By contrast, we found less than a dozen health care facilities within a 25 mile radius. Residents noted in town meetings that if you needed an ambulance, you were better off having a neighbor drive you to Knox, rather than wait the 45 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, and then ride another 30 minutes back to Knox. Police and emergency response services were both a big concern, as the County Sheriff is also located in Knox.

In our first trips to the area, we assumed hunting and fishing would be popular outdoor recreation activities for local residents. Our surveys, however, found that these activities more often attracted visitors to the area, rather than served the local population.

The youth of San Pierre noted that their forms of recreation - bowling alleys, roller rinks, movie theaters, shopping malls - were all located well outside San Pierre, and required significant planning with their friends and their parents to schedule an outing. They also noted that most of their school events took place in North Judson, and not in San Pierre. By the time their after-school activities were completed in North Judson and they got back home, the library was closed, and the park no longer lit.

"The nearest mall is an hour away; the nearest movie theater 45 minutes."
- youth comment at our first Town Meetinng

One contentious issue that has arisen in San Pierre in the last year is the proposal for a new ethanol plant just 2 miles north of town. Many residents expressed environmental concerns about the activities of such a plant, while other thought new jobs in the area would be a plus. Two other new ethanol plants have been proposed in the area, one in Argos and one in Reynolds. Construction of all three plants is currently on hold, but the debate over the potential change they may bring remains.

A map of all the Power Plants within a 50 mile radius of San Pierre.
Existing Power Plants are shown in the darker shade of Purple.
Three proposed Ethanol Plants - in Argos, Reynolds, and just north of San Pierre - are shown in light purple.

A map of all the Airports within a 35 mile radius of San Pierre.
Paved runways are shown in black. Grass landing strips are shown in green.

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© 2008 The Institute for Small Town Studies