Local leaders from the economic and community development fields and financial experts shared strategies for improving area housing at the Crawford County Economic Development Corporation’s (CCEDC) first-ever housing summit on March 17.
“As we look at the overall conditions in our community, we want to face the challenges with honest and open dialogue and information with great data from our studies,” Michael Thissen, executive director of CCEDC, said. “We’re grateful for the leaders who spoke at the summit who are committed to Crawford County and our region’s prosperity.”
The virtual summit was part of Crawford County’s initiative to improve local infrastructure. Over 40 community members attended the event, which was sponsored by First Savings Bank. The webinar explored the current state of the rural housing market and analyzed the components needed to build housing capacity, including quality of place, transportation, and addressing rental disparity.
Tina Peterson, president and CEO of Regional Opportunity Initiatives, presented Crawford County-related and regional results from ROI’s recent Housing Study during the summit. The study showed that Crawford County is one of the region’s most rural counties and has some of the lowest home values.
Other speakers at the summit included:
- Jacob Sipe, executive director of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority;
- Jeff Quyle, president and CEO of Radius Indiana;
- Liz Newton, housing program director for the Lincoln Hills Development Corporation;
- Kerry Thomson, executive director of Indiana University’s Center for Rural Engagement; and
- Eric Gilmore, senior vice president and regional manager of First Savings Bank in English, Ind.
Topics ranged from the impact of COVID-19 on housing and regional economic development and how new housing benefits communities, to other resources for increasing residential development.
“This housing summit offered a good opportunity for a wide variety of Crawford County residents to become involved in making decisions about meeting future housing needs,” Quyle said. “The Crawford County Economic Development Corporation brought in some very informative speakers, and they were very transparent and inclusive in their work to share this start of a process to work on the housing needs of the county.”
CCEDC is looking for individuals to join its first-ever housing task force to advance housing initiatives in the county. Those interested should contact CCEDC at firstname.lastname@example.org. Formal invitations will be sent on March 31.
About CCEDC: The Crawford County Economic Development Corporation serves Crawford County, Indiana, for business, entrepreneurship, and workforce growth and builds capacity for quality of place. Its mission is to grow a prosperous Crawford County, together.