LPC OCED brings opportunities for local communities and businesses in La Porte County

LPC OCED brings opportunities for local communities and businesses in La Porte County

Catering to enhance the quality of life for La Porte County residents has always been the goal of the La Porte County Office of Community and Economic Development (LPC OCED). From improving the communities in which residents live to create a quality workforce, the LPC OCED has been working hard to bring economic development success that will help the county flourish and grow in years to come.

"From the moment we began this aggressive new push to bring LaPorte County Office of Community and Economic Development to the table as a facilitator of positive change we have made it clear we wanted to do this in a collaborative way and that we are simply another advocate for the unrepresented areas. This has included a wide swath of projects such as the Kingsbury Industrial Park, the 39 North Conservancy District, and the many highly attractive Mega Sites that LaPorte County promotes to the Indiana Economic Development Corporations site selectors on a daily basis" stated Tony Rodriguez, Director of the LPCOCED

At its core, La Porte County has a multitude of strong communities that have helped to shape the county into what it is today. To help these communities further thrive, the LPC OCED has launched the LaPorte County-Wide Housing Analysis to better understand what it is they need to reach and further surpass their potential. Through working with over 40 organizations in the county, the LPC OCED found three key findings: a need for a spectrum of housing, commercial centers with dense housing should be supported, and continuing the conversation around housing will be key to long-term success.

Vibrant Communities—A project created by the Unity Foundation and the La Porte County Visitor’s Bureau, created a lasting path forward for the development and growth of La Porte County. Through these partnerships, Vibrant Communities established an agenda working to unify local communities’ ideas, experiences, and input to create more prosperous communities within the county.

"The top goal of the Vibrant Communities initiative was to complete a housing study and action agenda. Unity Foundation partnered with the LPC OCED to get that critical task done,” said Unity Foundation President Maggi Spartz. “The end result is that we have a current baseline of our housing inventory, we know what the needs are, and we have a plan of action. It will take a team effort to make La Porte County more attractive to housing developers, and to give more and better housing choices to current and future residents. The LPC OCED is a lead player in implementation."

Continued efforts to improve the La Porte County Quality of life include the formation of the La Porte County Rural Broadband Task Force. The LPCRBBTF, is aimed at working to improve and push for the need for reliable internet access and cell phone data in rural Indiana and throughout La Porte County. Since its formation in 2019, the Task Force has laid the groundwork to deploy fiber faster, removing many obstacles previously placed. In 2021, the LPCBBTF completed a Fiber- to-Premise study to determine the ultimate cost to provide equitable access to all residents.

The job market throughout the county has contributed to the success that many of these communities are seeing as well. With a primary focus on industrial fields, La Porte County has received both national and international attention from the amount of jobs created over the past year. An estimated 240 new jobs were created from expansions of companies such as E-PAK Machinery, Dwyer Instruments, OTECH, A&A Sheet Metal, Sims Meats, Alexander Chemical, and Vanair. An additional eight expansions are also in the works for other companies throughout La Porte County as well.

The LPC OCED has also been a huge advocate in supporting local businesses and has developed a Business Retention program to better assist those in unincorporated La Porte County. The end goal of the program is to help already established businesses continue operations, provide any needed information to help them expand, and to assist with day-to-day operations. The La Porte County Works! program was also created to help current businesses in the county showcase current employers and their job openings in a public way to help get the word out about employment opportunities as well.

"It was my intent to become a consistent and regular outlet for the unique and rarely spoken of advanced manufacturers and businesses that need key people to continue to thrive and a genuine honest source of real information about our most important economic contributors. Those entrepreneurs, owners, and managers that operate these golden gems in LaPorte County and key contributors to our growing county", Stated Sheila Matias, President of the LaPorte County Commissioners and creator of the LaPorte County Works! Program. "I truly enjoy doing this on a highly consistent basis and knowing that the impact will benefit all who listen. The Company wins because they now receive increased traffic on its website and more job applicants. The young adults and residents of LaPorte County and surrounding areas win because they now have a superior job opportunity right here in LaPorte County with a short commute with tremendous wages and fringe benefits" concluded Commission President Matias.