The Vibrant Communities of La Porte County are joining together to establish a county-wide vision and action agenda to enhance their proud communities. Developing this plan around the values, needs and aspirations of each community is crucial to the success of this initiative. To support this process, a diverse group of community members and representatives throughout the county has been convened to guide the initiative and engage all the communities of La Porte County.

These twenty-five members have been selected to provide guidance, direction and local insight as part of the Vibrant Communities Initiative. Members were selected to represent the diverse communities of La Porte County serving as elected officials, local business owners, or engaged representatives in their respective community. The steering committee will serve as spokespersons for the initiative, provide guidance on plan substance, assist the planning team during public events, and encourage public engagement throughout the seven-month process. The committee’s first meeting was held on August 29th and through the remainder of the process will convene several times to advance the initiative and support the creation of the final Action Agenda. Visit the resources page HERE to check out their work and stay up-to-date!

The steering committee is comprised of the following individuals:

Maggi Spartz, Co-Chair, Unity Foundation of La Porte County

Jack Arnett, Co-Chair, La Porte County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Dr. Vidya Kora, La-Porte County Commissioner

Jennilee Haynes, Economic Development Corporation Michigan City

Jim Jessup, Local Leader

Justin Kiel, LaCrosse Town Council President

Shannon Eason, Michigan City Parks & Recreation Department

Maria Fruth, Healthcare Foundation of La Porte

Tom Keon, Purdue University Northwest

Tony Rodriguez, La Porte County Office of Community & Economic Development

Randy Novak, La Porte County Council Member, Michigan City Fire Chief

Beth Shrader, City of La Porte Community Development and Planning

Ashley Dickinson, La Porte Hospital

Katie Eaton, Economic Development Corporation Michigan City

Ron Heeg, La Porte County Sheriff’s Department

Rose Tejeda, Lubeznik Center for the Arts Board Member, Local Business Owner

Yolanda Davis, Horizon Bank

Seth Spencer, SERA Solutions

Leah Konrady, One Region

Peggy Thomas, Retired Principal

Mary Foell, Purdue University Extension

Sandra Wood, Metropolitan School District of New Durham Township

Nate Loucks, State Street Community Church

Richard Rupp, Purdue University Northwest

Allison Goshorn, Purdue University Extension


In October, the steering committee will be attending and assisting in the public Community Conversation Workshops beginning on Monday, October 21st, see the link HERE to learn more. Outside of these workshops, the committee will review and assist with technical analysis to begin developing the action agenda.