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Cities and towns across Indiana are experiencing transformation.  

They are celebrating their unique qualities and committing time, creativity and financial resources to achieving the dream of a vibrant and healthy community. 

It is not an easy road, and many lessons have been learned along the way.  But as a result of their efforts, they are becoming attractive destinations for visitors to spend money, for businesses to open offices and factories, and for current and prospective residents to establish homes, raise families and invest in the community.  

As a part of Ball State’s Primacy of Place Initiative, we are proud to highlight ten Indiana cities and towns – one each week for ten weeks – that are making great strides in increasing their attractiveness and vitality.      

Follow the series via Twitter at @BallStatePoP and share your own success story by submitting your community for a 2014 Community Award

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Week 1: Shelbyville, Indiana (Pop. 19,191)
Shelbyville and Shelby County have partnered with Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to better prepare public school students for higher education in science, technology, engineering and math; to enhance workforce development efforts; and to build a local culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.   

Week 2: Jeffersonville, Indiana (Pop. 44,953)
Jeffersonville has dedicated substantial efforts and resources to revitalize its downtown area in preparation for the opening of the Big Four Bridge that connects pedestrians and cyclists from Louisville, Kentucky with the historic waterfront city.

Week 3: Marion, Indiana (Pop. 29,948)
The Community School of Arts, started by a local group of art enthusiasts, offers 177 classes in the visual, literary, performing, martial and culinary arts for Marion’s youth and adults. 

Week 4: Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana (Pop. 96,736)
These neighboring cities have banded together with Ivy Tech Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and Purdue University to establish the Quality of Life Council, charged with overseeing the consistent implementation of placemaking efforts in diversity, downtown vitality, wellness, arts integration, transportation and education.  

Week 5: Rushville, Indiana (Pop. 6,341)
In less than six months, Rushville businesses and residents built an outdoor amphitheater and launched a summer concert series that has entertained more than 52,000 concert-goers from Indiana and beyond.  

Week 6: Kokomo, Indiana (Pop. 45,468)
Over the last five years, the city of Kokomo has made strategic investments in downtown revitalization, parks and recreation, bikeways and pedestrian trails, and public art.  

Week 7: Bloomington, Indiana (Pop. 80,405)
The city’s technology sector is working to fight “brain drain” and foster the city’s emerging high-tech economy through the Bloomington Technology Partnership.  

Week 8: Columbus, Indiana (Pop. 44,061)
The city of Columbus has created a vibrant downtown Arts District that has resulted in improved quality of life, expanded employment opportunities, increases in tourist-related revenue and national recognition as a top architectural design destination. 

Week 9: Valparaiso, Indiana (Pop. 31,730)
Valparaiso has redeveloped a five-block downtown area, including the implementation of several public art projects, an amphitheater, splash-pad water play area and a life-size bronze statue of Orville Redenbacher that “tweets” from his park bench! 

Week 10: Walkerton, Indiana (Pop. 2,144)
Through a three-year Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant, Walkerton transformed the Dogwood Estates area from an unattractive, unsafe place to live to a vibrant community with quality housing.