Graduate students from all corners of the globe all had their sights set on the Tri-State. Indiana University online graduate students from as far away as Nepal were all working on how to best bring Jasper to the next level.
It’s a capstone project as a part of Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
The partnership between the City of Jasper and IU started off like many business relationships. Jasper City officials met IU Professor Frank Nierzwicki and the professor sold them on his capstone.
The process of coming up with a plan for Jasper took months. With some members of the class abroad, they weren’t able to visit the city itself. Instead, some of the local members went in their stead, compiling long hours of interviews and data research.
They came up with a plan to modernize Jasper while still keeping some of its roots.
The big focus was keeping and maintaining talent in Jasper. Those presenting said that millennials are moving toward the coasts, so they wanted to come up with a plan to help bring them to Jasper.
The IU students said they want to make sure Jasper doesn’t become a commuter city. With all of the industry in the town it can be a challenge to have people live there.
Much of their suggestions veered toward connectivity: both online and in real life. For online connectivity it was things like increasing social media presence through hashtags and creating a devoted social media person. In real life they want to help connect the downtown district to Vine Street. The students proposed that creating more bike lanes and road patterns could help.
This whole project was just a big suggestion for stakeholders in Jasper to chew on. City officials say they are in the throes of creating a comprehensive plan for the city. So only time will tell to see what Jasper officials were moved by as the comprehensive plan nears completion.