Leadership Starke County Assesses Local Strengths, Challenges

Community leaders spent a day taking an objective look at the good and bad that Starke County has to offer as part of a recent Leadership Starke County strategic planning meeting. First, facilitator Jim Jessup says Leadership Starke County participants took stock of the community’s assets.

“Lakes, rivers, wooded areas, farm land – you know, all those natural kind of environmental assets, that was certainly one of them,” said Jessup.

Jessup says Starke County also faces many challenges, both in terms of branding and marketing the community to visitors and would-be residents, as well as boosting morale among those who already live here.

“Starke County residents sometimes don’t have a very high esteem really of themselves. They think good enough is good enough and we’re ‘just Starke County.’ Trying to create that county pride within the boundaries of Starke County went along with this branding thing,” Jessup said.

Jessup hopes a new organization can tackle another major problem identified by community leaders.

“As far as the drug abuse thing, there is an existing organization now, Moving Starke County Forward, that is working on the whole healthy Starke County initiative, including the drug abuse,” said Jessup.

Jessup hopes to keep the momentum and energy going among community leaders as they work to build on Starke County’s strengths and tackle the problems they identified. He says leaders are working to form task forces and other groups to seek citizen input. Anyone who is interested in being a part of the solution is encouraged to contact Debbie Mix at the Starke County Chamber of Commerce or Joan Haugh at Community Services of Starke County.