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One Region's 2017 Initiatives

Regional Civic Engagement

Through collaborative partnerships One Region will take action to share information about regional projects. In 2017, One Region will focus on the South Shore Rail Line’s Double Tracking and West Lake Corridor Projects.

Why Now?

Improvements in our commuter rail system will drive population and economic growth. Average household income of South Shore riders is $82,000, which is nearly double the state’s median income. Currently, NWI residents employed in Chicago bring $427 million in personal income and $14 million in sales and income taxes to Indiana annually. An improved and larger commuter system will bring even more money and people to our region.

Regional Benchmarking & Tour

Identify other metropolitan regions in the United States similar to Northwest Indiana and assess how these regions have leveraged and built assets to the benefit of their region economically and qualitatively. Core to this initiative is a proposed academic assessment of infrastructure assets, regional collaborative groups, and governmental unification and/or collaboration models.

The initiative will culminate in a tour for business and regional leaders of a key region identified in the study. The tour will provide a first-hand learning experience where NWI leaders from the business, government, non-profit and education sectors can meet with their counterparts in another region.

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Why Now?

Similar to activities of other Chambers of Commerce throughout the country, we will provide a platform for regional community and business leaders to meet and discuss the future of our region while giving examples of other successful regional leadership and planning.

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Next Step

Engaging young professionals and working with millennials in Northwest Indiana to learn more about their vision for our region. Through an open question summit for millennials we will address “Why don’t millennials want to live here?” to break the cycle of asking the same people the same questions and open a door for new thinking. Similar to young professionals boards, this is a young professionals civic action committee.

Why Now?

Northwest Indiana suffers from “brain drain.” Today, our region’s population growth is only 4%, which is half of the state’s growth and even less than the country’s. The average person living today in Lake County Indiana is 43% older than in 1970, which means younger populations have left.