Montgomery and Fountain counties are part of a 10-county region joining together to bring new opportunities to rural areas.
The Wabash Heartland Innovation Network, or WHIN, consists of Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Warren, or White counties, and they’re looking for input from individuals who live or work in the region.
“Our vision is to increase access to the power of internet and sensor-based technology as it applies to digital agriculture, next-generation manufacturing and enhanced quality of life,” said Ron Dickerson, a representative from Montgomery County who serves on the WHIN Board of Directors.
“We will achieve this by creating a regional effort that lowers barriers, increases educational opportunities and applies smart technology to our rural communities’ needs and strengths,” Dickerson said. “No other rural region is tackling the critical issue of internet-accessibility this same way, and it is very exciting and promising.”
Residents, or individuals employed in one of the 10 counties, can participate in WHIN’s regional place-making survey to help determine the top priorities in their respective county.
The results will be one of the factors used in helping determine where and how the funds will used.
The funding, a $38.9 million Lilly Endowment grant, was awarded to WHIN for its regional economic development initiative.
The survey is posted online at www.whinsmartregion.org and is open through Aug. 31.
It consists of 27 questions broken up into four sections: community vitality, community education, community connectivity and your future plans and background Information.
“The purpose of WHIN’s regional place-making survey is to discover what priorities emerge from every one of the 10 counties,” Dickerson said. “The results will give the WHIN core team a baseline for what the 10-county residents think should be improved and how they feel about working together as a region to achieve community and economic prosperity.”