Letter from the Executive Director
During visits with other communities, other economic development practitioners, and the general public I am often asked, “What is La Porte doing that is leading to so many projects and successes?” It is a question that generates a great deal of pride for me and I hope our community shares in that sentiment. I believe these are the attributes that are central to our success.
First and foremost, the partnerships that exist in La Porte are second-to-none. In most, if not all of our successes, progress can be tied to many people and entities working together towards a common goal. This is evident in multiple projects but none more so than the NewPorte Landing Development. When I look back at the long road that has led to where we are today I have to acknowledge many different team members. While GLEDC and the City of La Porte are most visible, others have had enormous roles as well. The Community Development Partnership (CDP) stepped in when needed most to acquire a property crucial for a complete development. Local banks, NIPSCO and the La Porte Economic Advancement Foundation created the CDP to augment what the City was doing and assist when needed to make sure this development was a success. Likewise, the La Porte Urban Enterprise Association (UEA) played a major role by assisting the Redevelopment Commission in acquiring and remediating environmental issues on another property necessary for the growth of NewPorte Landing. These are just two examples of what partnership means in La Porte. The progress in NewPorte Landing last year was staggering. The infrastructure was constructed and our community was finally able to see this brownfield come to life as a new inviting place for retail, commercial and recreational developments to flourish. Now because of the great work by many this development is ready to take the next step in 2017—new businesses calling NewPorte Landing home.
Another strength of La Porte is problem solving. Look no further than Downtown to see this in action. The UEA Business Grants have long been available for Downtown businesses. Many have used the programs over the years but the UEA has never been quite able to capture the dramatic result it was looking for.
That transformation began in 2016. UEA Board Members in conjunction with the Downtown Coordinator and the La Porte City Planner came together to brainstorm on how to achieve the change we’ve been searching for. The group assessed past struggles, challenges, and needs with the end result being a new program called The Business Block Grant. The first 8 buildings applied and received funds to begin a massive facelift for the Downtown in 2016. The Downtown beautification started with paint and awnings and will continue next year with another 8 buildings receiving improvements. The change has garnered much optimism from the community and would never have been possible without the problem solving of the City Team.
The last quality I want to mention is a commitment to planning for a better future. La Porte’s determination to consider where we are going, not just where we are today is a tremendous asset to our economic development efforts. NewPorte Landing is a great example of this but the most notable would be the Thomas Rose Industrial Park. Again, all partners involved in the expansion were focused on our future. The plan enacted not only allowed for new infrastructure but more importantly access to new industrial sites for future employers. This has never been more important than it is today. With La Porte’s ever-shrinking vacancy rates, new sites are desperately needed to continue to attract new jobs and capital investments to our community.
Every community has strengths and weaknesses and La Porte is no different. However, when I answer the question, “What is driving us forward so quickly?” I firmly believe it is that our strengths are aligned with where we want to be in the future. Businesses notice those communities that have a commitment to excellence and the determination to achieve these goals. La Porte is driven and strategic. We have a vision of the future and use our community partnerships and problem solving abilities to make sure we are constantly on the path to reach our goals! That is why others notice all that we are accomplishing.
La Porte, IN 46350
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