The City of Logansport collectively pushed its reset button in 2016 with a robust community visioning process. Consultants from two universities drove the process forward with two community co-chairs and a broad-based steering committee whose membership reflected a range of participants from high school students to senior citizens. Skilled and unskilled labor and representatives from the health care, education, social services, real estate, retail and industrial sectors participated along with members of the Extension Service, service organizations, the Chamber of Commerce and the community foundation.
A community-wide survey generated 1,994 responses and several community meetings were held to provide a vision for Logansport’s future. This process produced a shared community vision that continues to pay dividends and was the catalyst for Logansport’s featured projects.
Master Housing Plan
A common theme in the community visioning sessions was the old and rundown housing stock available in Logansport. An ad hoc housing task force was formed, including construction firms, builders, social service agencies and major employers. An action plan was formulated, and an external analyst was brought in to examine property values, existing structures and the demographic data for the community. The analyst ultimately recommended the addition of 400 new single-family units over the next four years.
The housing plan has resulted in:
Logan Square Office Building – repurposed with four empty floors of office space being transformed into 40 market rate apartments.
Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority – awarded the city a grant to transform 30 blight elimination lots throughout the city into new single-family homes. Residents will qualify for a college scholarship program and free Internet access will be provided along with transportation for each resident.
Repurposing – The taskforce is developing approximately 20 acres of land owned by the city behind a shopping center where 20 additional homes and townhouses will be built.
Logansport Municipal Utilities Generating Plant and the General Tire Plant – These underutilized properties were cleared for new housing.
Updated Historic Structures Inventory – The city produced an updated guide of historic housing, sponsored a Historic Preservation Week, and began the process of applying for a new historic district.
Construction is up more than 100 percent and property values are on the rise, creating a more stable tax base.
Energy Smart Initiative
Logansport turned what many would see as a setback into an opportunity when the EPA-mandated closing of its generating plant was used as an opportunity for the city to continue providing power to Logansport at a reduced and competitive rate. After a competitive process vetted eight proposals, Logansport leaders opted to award an agreement to Next Era, a solar/wind provider. The result of the new utility agreement was an 11.5 percent decrease in electric rates across the board. The savings alone was approximately $70,000 a month for the city’s largest employer, Tyson Foods.
With energy costs decreasing due to the agreement with Next Era, manufacturers seized this opportunity to expand. Myers Spring announced plans to double in size, Logan Stampings combined operations from other cities and moved into a larger local plant, and Cass County Protein embarked on a $19 million expansion.
Utility savings plans didn’t stop there, officials concentrated on lowering utility-related costs to the city through an Energy Savings Program. Bonded through the city, an ESP would provide energy saving installations, with the savings paying the cost of the bond issue. After exploring the potential through an energy audit, the city’s leaders decided to proceed with energy-saving measures such as:
Additional efforts have gone into promoting a culture of energy conservation and auditing the wastewater treatment plant’s energy consumption.
Addressing Public Health
Since 2016, Logansport has been on an aggressive trajectory of addressing public health issues. Efforts have included:
Additionally, the local hospital Memorial has used a portion of its revenue to donate to the school corporation which has a health careers curriculum. The hospital also underwrites the cost of athletic training for the school sports teams.
Health prevention measures also were the target of a $3.7 million capital fund drive for the Cass County Family Y. For just the second time in its 50-year history, the Y embarked on a drive to transform its facility. This drive quickly raised more than $3.2 million and renovations and expansions of the Y campus are progressing.
In looking ahead to the future, Memorial Hospital and its foundation actively pursued a community needs assessment. A survey of community leaders assembled for a task force has identified mental health care, drug treatment and prevention and diabetes prevention as priorities in addressing well-being.