LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - What does it take to go from good to great?
For most things, cooking, playing basketball, or even public speaking, it takes practice and even more practice.
But what about a community?
Greater Lafayette Commerce leaders hope to get some answers to that question from a consultant this week and they need your help.
The cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette have plenty of fun events to offer in the summer and winter. Making them 'Communities of Choice' by improving the quality of life is the focus of a year-long study paid for by Greater Lafayette Commerce.
"Watching that come to fruition over the last year is exciting," said Doug Gutridge, Community of Choice co-chair.
Wisconsin-based Next Generation Consulting has researched Greater Lafayette, comparing it to seven other college towns across the country. Then it will provide specific ways to get better.
"Some of these are going to a little bit of eye-openers," said Greater Lafayette Commerce President Joe Seaman. "The challenge will be then agreeing with that and developing a strategy to implement the plan and executing it."
Project Manager Molly Foley said Next Generation Consulting has discovered several key points already. Perhaps the biggest is that while Greater Lafayette has a major university, it is not a college town. While retirees are big proponents of the area, students are not. Many under 40 reported they felt like there is less to do and fewer job opportunities than other places, meaning they are likely to take then talents and money elsewhere.
"Even though some of our recommendations may be based upon specific demographics, ultimately it is creating a community that is attractive to all demographics," Foley said.
Input and feedback sessions for the public are scheduled with the consultant this week.
"The community needs to be bought into all this and needs to be bought in with our recommendations and the best way we have found to do this is to actually have them involved with that design process," Foley said.
Because business leaders like Gutridge and Seaman not only want good ideas, but good ideas that work for everyone.
"We're not just wanting to have great, neat, fancy ideas, fanciful ideas if you will, that don't have any reality to them," Gutridge said. "We want to be able to take the ideas and do something with them."
The year-long study is costing about $80,000 and is being paid for by Greater Lafayette Commerce. Seaman said several businesses have helped pick up the tab.
There are four Community of Choice meetings:
- Wednesday, May 30 - 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. - Lafayette Brewing Company at 622 Main Street
- Thursday, May 31 - 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. - Big Four Depot at Second and Main Streets
- Thursday, May 31 - 1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Tippecanoe Arts Federation at 638 North Street
- Thursday, May 31 - 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. - Lafayette Brewing Company at 622 Main Street
Indiana Department of Transportation road crews are preparing the roads for the first winter storm of the season.
Lafayette Police are asking for the public's help to find a man wanted for burglary and theft.
Toyota says it has begun production of its 2014 Highlander SUV at its plant in southwestern Indiana.