Bringing Together Public, Private, Nonprofit Sectors
Aspire Johnson County is considered one of Indiana's most unique community initiatives. We have become a model for community betterment because leaders and volunteers have collaborated on ways to make Johnson County a great place to live, work,play and learn.
The Johnson County Development Corporation launched Aspire as a program to identify opportunities that can enrich and enlighten our community. Our goals our simple, but the solutions are complex. Our work focuses on:
Here are some of our successes to date:
Aspire Johnson County was selected for Indiana's Community Conversation series, a program that helps selected regions better understand their past and prepare them for the future. Aspire Johnson County applied for the program as part of its ongoing research and planning efforts and was one of four Indiana proposals selected for 2015.
The Community Conversation partners worked with Aspire Johnson County to:
Johnson County's location next to Indianapolis makes it ideal for businesses that provide food, entertainment and overnight accommodations. Our location in the Central Indiana region, along with our many amenities such as agri-tourism, historic downtown Franklin, dynamic shopping opportunities in Greenwood, and youth sports leagues conducted throughout the county, brings many visitors here for the day as well. Many counties our size and in this region utilize a CVB, or Convention and Visitors Bureau, to market their county to these and other types of visitors.
At the request of the Johnson County Council, Aspire volunteers conducted extensive research and prepared a report on how the county can approach destination marketing. This report not only included local government funding of the effort, but also private investment. As the County Council has considered passing an Innkeepers Tax, Aspire tested destination marketing programs on the digital and social media platforms - with success. We also have collaborated with hospitality business owners on ideas to create a destination marketing organization.
The County Council has now passed the innkeeper's Tax Ordinance which is the first step in creating a destination marketing organization for the county. The Tourism Commission has been formed and are currently creating the direction for the destination marketing organization.
Through a grant from Duke Energy Foundation, we were able to bring Dr. Katherine Loflin, internationally recognized expert in placemaking, in for a day-long seminar on the importance of placemaking in our community. Dr. Loflin spoke in the morning about a community and growing their social offerings, aesthetics, and openness. The afternoon was spent putting the information into practice under the direction of Bonnie Pribush. Over 60 participants came away with personal goals for growing their community as well as ideas for projects throughout the county.
Journey Johnson County began as a project of a Leadership Johnson County team. This team created the Journey Johnson County website as a tourism website for the county. The team has continued to update the website with volunteers. They asked the Aspire Placemaking Team to take responsibility for the website. The newly-remodeled Journey Johnson County website was launched in June 2016 with strong and positive response. This site now promotes Johnson County as a destinatino to visit for regional visitors and also is used heavily by our own residents when they are seeking information on upcoming activities in the county and looking for places to play with their families.
Aspire Johnson County and the growth and planning team were asked by the Johnson County Planning and Zoning department Director, David Hittle, to assist with the community engagement for updating the land use plan for the White River Township. The team worked as partners in the public meetings, assisted in disseminating information to the public, and provided input for the plan.
The Placemaking team partnered with the Lemonade Day Indianapolis organization to bring the child focused entrepreneurship program, Lemonade Day, to the county. The team promoted the event to the local schools and businesses, brought awareness to the importance of entrpreneurship education to the county, and assisted the local school corporations with adding the Lemonopolis curriculum to their thschools.
Click here for photos of the school visits.
The Talent Team has partnered with Endress+Hauser , Central 9 Career Center, the local school corporations and 9 other local manufacturers and have held two successful career and education forums. These forums were held at the Endress+Hauser campus and brought middles school students, their parents, and educators, together to learn about careers in manufacturing today, the companies that are located in Johnson County and the specific careers their students can have right here in our county, and the educational requirements for these STEM related careers. The first forum held in June 2014 brought over 300 students and parents together. The second forum, held October 2015, brought an amazing 800 + students, parents, and educators to the campus. The team will continue the success of these forums as well as expand to other sectors in 2016.
The growth and planning team has been able to represent Johnson County in meetings with INDOT, State Representative John Price, and the public to provide well informed facts to the residents about the issues related to the section 6 discussions for Interstate 69. Through the information session held in April 2015 as well as participation in regional meetings, the team has provided a voice for Johnson County as the future of state road 37 is discussed. In addition, the team is working at the request of the Johnson County Planning and Zoning Department, to assist with updating the land use plan for Center Grove, and particularly the area near state road 37. The team is continuing to provide education and information to the public as the state works to develop the final plans for this section.
The Aspire Facebook page grew to 500 likes in over a few short months and has become a mainstay for the county. The information on local events and activities has grown and provided a new way for residents and visitors alike to learn about our community. In addition, the Capture Johnson County photo album on the page has been endorsed as a Legacy Project for the Indiana Bi-Centennial. This album showcases life in Johnson County with photos regularly submitted by local residents. This page will continue to be a resource for residents and visitors with updates and photos from around the county.