Vibrant NWI
NWI’s economy is thriving, our people are well educated, growth is
planned, and natural and agricultural areas are valued and protected.
For more information and resources in regard to COVID-19, please visit the

Vibrant NW Indiana amid COVID-19

Its no secret that lives have changed amid COVID-19. As many of us work from home, we have seen a drastic change in many industries and the business world significantly. As these changes impact others differently, we have seen a direct impact on various industries here in Northwestern Indiana. Local businesses are feeling the pressure, as physical distancing and staying in place orders have impacted their operations. The livelihood of many local businesses in Northwestern Indiana are at risk due to the impact of COVID-19. Luckily, there are many resources available to support local business owners at this time. The NIRPC website provides a multitude of resources for residents, businesses, and local governments to navigate through this crisis.

Another great resource is  NWI Strong  which houses a large directory where you can find local businesses, what they offer, and their contact information. This resource contains phone numbers, website links, Facebook pages, and other ways to reach out and support local businesses here in Northwestern Indiana. Even though we are in uncertain times, supporting a local business is a great way to show your care for others in our region and help keep our region vibrant. 

In other news for a vibrant Northwest Indiana , local governments such as the  Town of Hebron  and  LaPorte County  have worked to procure federal grant funding from the  Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs  to provide short term working capital to small businesses in order to support job retention. Also, the  United States Department of Housing and Urban Development  has released $685 million in COVID-19 relief funding for low-income residents who reside in public housing across the country. Recipients of the funding include all of our urban core communities in the Northwestern Indiana region, including  Gary, Hammond, East Chicago,  and  Michigan City .
Economy and Place
Pandemic Cities: How Will Coronavirus Shape Urban Life?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, cities across the world have become deserted and city streets nearly lifeless. How exactly is the coronavirus shaping urban life, and what short- and long-term impacts might it have on how cities should, or could, work?

Fewer vehicles on the roads and added reduction of flights have led to a drop in air pollution globally.

The difference made in cities, especially those that struggle with traffic and air quality, has been illuminating. A recent article highlighted the following key themes that are affecting cities the most:

  • Ghost Towns
  • Pollution and Transport
  • Public Space
  • Main Streets
  • Community
  • Housing

Read the full article here.
NWI Communitree Program a National Model

NWI’s Communitree Program, led by NIRPC’s Joe Exl, has become a national model! On April 8th Communitree was featured as part of a national webinar series Urban Forest Connections

This webinar provided a great opportunity to check out the collective impact that the Communitree partnership has had across the region.

The webinar also focused on the community benefits of planting trees, engaging volunteers, and coordinating partnerships to leverage results.

Key partners in Communitree include the US. Forest Service, The Student Conservation Association, the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, INDNR, NIPSCO, and the Wildlife Habitat Council.

Click here to view the webinar.
Purdue LTAP Report

As the spring season gets underway, so does the work on our streets and roads. As many of us try to get back to normalcy or even try to figure out what the new normalcy is, many have asked how the pandemic and the Governor’s Stay-At-Home Order will affect the planned road construction or paving projects.

Purdue’s Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) has recently (April 30) published an article taking a look into how the expected reduction in revenue from gas and fuel taxes will affect not only their counties and communities, but state programs. 

A large portion of the Motor Vehicle Highway Account (MVH), the Highway Road and Street Account (LRS), and the Community Crossings Matching Grant Fund (CCMGF) are derived from taxes, gasoline and special fuels, namely diesel. Since this time is unprecedented, and the full effect of these taxes are yet to be seen, the authors applied a direct proportion of traffic volumes to gas and fuel consumption. 

In short, the article states that there will be a reduction of revenue to these funds by up to 50%. The article also addresses another underlying issue facing many counties and municipalities: how the restrictions added by the state legislature in 2017 (to direct these funds towards roadway work and not towards general coffers) further inhibit the use of these funds. Learn more here.
NIRPC has designed and implemented an interactive COVID-19 dashboard onto its website, which you can find here. Track and observe how COVID-19 is impacting communities across Northwest Indiana.
Meetings are subject to change due to COVID-19 Protocol.
NIRPC Commission/Executive Board Meeting (Virtual Meeting)
Funding Opportunity!
  • The Indiana Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund Round 2 On-road & Non-road Grant has been extended until May 31, 2020.
  • Contact South Shore Clean Cities at (219) 644-3690 for more information.
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