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City of Valparaiso

 Photo courtesy of Valparaiso
 Photo courtesy of Valparaiso

Building Better Communities is proud to name the City of Valparaiso as one of three 2013 Primacy of Place Awards winners!

Valparaiso Video Thumbnail
Video: Mayor Jon Costas on Valparaiso's excellent commitment to placemaking within their community.

The Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission and its Parks and Recreation Department play key municipal roles in developing the community’s art scene. The commission acts on recommendations from an Art Advisory Committee in funding public art projects. The parks department raises funds through its foundation for numerous public art projects: the centerpiece of which is an Orville Redenbacher sculpture located in the city’s Central Park Plaza, a work commissioned through competitive solicitation posted on the city’s website and the Chicago Artists Resource. Funding for the sculpture was also provided by private donors, Indiana Dunes Tourism, and the Rotary Club. @OrvilleStatue tweets to his Twitter followers and was named Best in Show at the 2012 Indiana Social Media Summit.   

The community has introduced a Fit City program and preserved hundreds of acres of parkland adjacent to the city for active and passive recreational options including hiking and biking trails and organized sports. The Indiana Chamber selected Valpo as its Community of the Year in 2009, receiving the highest honor for “turning old into new.” Redevelopment efforts focused on five blocks in the downtown area and two key corridors leading into the city. The Valparaiso Art Walk at Cumberland is a free outdoor sculpture exhibit. City school teachers and students participated in creating vinyl works of art to cover the city’s Bike Lockers, educating students and residents about the importance of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. To encourage residents to come downtown and sample local restaurant fare, seven restaurants collaborate on an “Eat Up, Wine Down” event the first Thursday of each month by offering $5 selections so people can sample a variety of fare at affordable prices. The city cited Robert Lynch’s article “Arts Mean Economic Revitalization” published in Public Management in 2013, claiming “the typical arts attendee spends $24.60 per person per event, beyond the cost of admission, meals, ground transportation, shopping, lodging, and more.”