On May 23, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs unveiled their rural strategy on how to better support and elevate Indiana’s rural communities at a public announcement in Greensburg, Ind.
“Through the leadership of OCRA, we are seeing rural communities in our state thrive and become the areas that people want to visit and live in,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch. “I know that the agency has received input from various members of these rural areas, and has configured a plan to take this input and put it into action across the state.”
Crouch said that roughly 40 percent of the state’s population lives across 76 rural counties, and these rural communities possess extraordinary natural beauty, alluring small towns, historic structures and quality natural resources that need to be preserved, enhanced and developed. The Office of Community and Rural Affairs supports residents of rural communities who are actively working to improve the economic well-being of where they live.
The Office of Community and Rural Affairs has had the privilege of working with rural Indiana communities to help them grow through economic and community development. More than $28 million in OCRA community development funding and over $53 million of local dollars have been leveraged to aid these projects. Through partnership and collaboration, the agency continues to be creative and innovative to meet the needs of Indiana communities.
“The Strategic Plan for Rural Indiana outlines a collaborative, innovative agenda for OCRA to accomplish over the next three years. This plan will help us focus our support for rural Indiana communities to help make them better places to live, work, play and grow," said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA.
The public announcement touched on the strategic priorities, which provides the agency’s tactical direction over the next few years. Each priority, which is outlined below, includes several key initiatives that frame how the agency will work to accomplish these initiatives:
- Provide opportunities and programs focused on people and place-based investments;
- Expand as a trusted resource for rural Indiana;
- Build capacity of rural leadership;
- Support economic growth and preservation in the downtown and commercial districts; and
- Facilitate strategies to address rural broadband access.