Forum seeks ideas for improving Albion

ALBION — Everyone who lives, works or plays in the greater Albion area is invited to participate in a community forum on Thursday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Central Noble High School cafeteria on East Main Street in Albion.

Participation is being sought from the public to aid the Albion Hometown Collaboration Initiative team in identifying a community development project that will encourage “placemaking,” leadership and/or economic growth in Albion.

Earlier this year, Albion was chosen as one of just five communities in the state by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, as an HCI Community. Community development professionals from OCRA, with partners from Ball State University and Purdue University, have been coaching the local HCI Team how to reach goals that are identified by listening to citizens, and how to facilitate methods of gathering community input.

A survey was conducted recently to begin gathering information, and the upcoming public form is the next step to glean more input from the community at large. The forum will be well-organized to allow all participants the opportunity to be heard. The development of retail options, restaurants, and recreational spaces; leadership in the future; and economic development will all be topics for public discussion and input.

The HCI has come at a time when others in the area, including the Noble County Plan Commission and Albion Lions Club, have also conducted public surveys. Participation in this HCI public form is urged nonetheless, because survey results from third parties will not be considered in the scope of the HCI.

The HCI is “intended for self-identified communities with a total population of 25,000 or less that want to develop a new generation of local leaders; build a supportive community environment for small business and entrepreneurs; or invest in place through creative quality of life initiatives related to public spaces, design, local foods, and tourism among others. A core principle of HCI is that broad-based input and buy-in is vital to the long-term success and sustainability of all community development initiatives,” according to the OCRA website.

Albion, as a community, is already benefiting from the professional consultation of OCRA and their partners through hands-on training, and stands to reap the rewards of a project to be funded, at least in part, by a monetary investment from OCRA.

Join the HCI Team on Thursday to play a part in deciding how Albion will invest in its future. Register to attend atindianahci.org/communities/albion.php. Walk-ins will also be welcomed and food will be provided, while supplies last.