A joint effort between the Starke County Economic Development Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce is looking to improve Starke County’s quality of place.
Various community representatives from the area met at the Knox Visitor’s Center on North Heaton Street to discuss the concept. According to the discussion, economic development has become more than attracting jobs to a geographic area. Instead, ensuring skilled employees have access to various needs is also part of the picture.
Thursday’s discussion attempted to develop areas where Starke County could improve the quality of life for its residents. SCEDF Board President Larry Wicket says companies consider good places for their families to live.
“Whether it be the schools, or shopping, or other things that might be available, or just the general appearance of the community,’ says Wickert. “The same thing applies to people who are looking for work.”
Ideas from surrounding communities were brought up including the implementation of community gatherings and young professionals groups.
Key to the discussion improving Starke County’s quality of place was promoting the events already in place. WoodStarke, the Mint Festival, and the Yellowstone Trail festival were events in need of extra promotion.
In addition, promoting Bass Lake Beach and the various biking and walking trails in Starke County was considered an important development.
Another focus was placed on involving Starke County’s young adult population in its future. Attendee Ted Hayes pointed out the youth in the room, saying maybe the meeting should be run differently.
“We ought to have a meeting where he is sitting up there,” said Hayes pointing to the front of the room. “People his age ought to be sitting here, the 72-year-olds like me ought to be sitting at home.”
The group will work to develop their ideas over the coming weeks.
Those in attendance said that action may be seen at some point in the future.