The Process

"Will you help us get some streetlights?"
- question from our first Town Meeting

"I'd be willing to coach a youth soccer team if we had a place for the kids to play."
- comment from our first Town Meeting

"Can you share with us the stories of other small towns that have been successful revitalizing their town?"
- question from our third Town Meeting

What is the process for developing the San Pierre comprehensive masterplan?

In 2006 the Center for Rural Outreach and Public Service (CROPS) approached the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission (KIRPC) in Monon, Indiana, to apply for a Community Development Block Grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the State of Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). This grant would be used to pay for professional services to develop a comprehensive masterplan for the community of San Pierre, Indiana. In the spring of 2007, KIRPC issued a Request for Proposals on behalf of the Starke County Commissioners, for the development of a such a plan. Several firms submitted proposals, and in September 2007 the Institute for Small Town Studies (ISTS), a non-profit organization based in Fairfield, Iowa, was selected to receive the contract to compile the masterplan for San Pierre.

In October 2007, an initial planning meeting was held at the Lions Club building in San Pierre, involving ISTS, CROPS, the San Pierre Revitalization Committee, Township Trustees, and the general public. Approximately 45 people were in attendance. A local steering committee was assembled from the revitalization group and other concerned citizens.

ISTS proceeded to compile background research, demographics, histories, and other information necessary for assembling a plan. At the same time, several surveys were developed and distributed to better assess the needs and wants of the community. Residents of San Pierre were surveyed, as were visitors to town, alumni of the San Pierre High School, as well as the local youth.

A second public meeting was held in January, 2008, at the All Saints Catholic Church, to discuss the survey results and background research. Even though the temperature was 2 degrees above zero outside, and the Colts were in the playoffs, 32 people braved the cold to attend this meeting and offer their feedback. A list of community values emerged from this meeting, suggesting the core issues the comprehensive plan should address.

ISTS developed a draft plan and made this information available on-line and in 'hard copy' form before our third town meeting, held in April 2008 at St. Luke's Church. 26 members of the local community were in attendance at this meeting, along with a representative from US Congressman Joe Donnelly's office. The draft plan was discussed in detail at this meeting. Goals, objectives and strategies for moving forward were also discussed. Suggested revisions are being taken into account for compilation of a final comprehensive plan.

A fourth and final town meeting will take place in September of 2008, the same weekend as the annual Town Picnic, for the community to review, discuss and adopt the final plan, and to send it forward to the Starke County Commissioners for their approval, completing the masterplan process.

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© 2008 The Institute for Small Town Studies