What makes a college student return to their hometown during their summer breaks? For Carley Lemmon a 2013 Valparaiso High School graduate that is an easy question to answer. Carley returned to her hometown for the summer to help improve a changing and emerging new downtown area to make it even better, so other Valpo college students would also want to return home.
Carley spent her summer working as a n intern for the Valparaiso city planner Tyler Kent .She had several internships to choose from, one even by Indianapolis. Carley choose to return to her hometown of Valparaiso “Because it’s home. I like seeing what they were doing in the creative district. It was interesting”
Carley will be returning to Ball State for her Senior year at the end of next week. She will graduate in May with a Bachelor degree in Urban Planning. Carley used her knowledge of planning that she attained from her classes at Ball State to help plan and execute the Better Block Project in Valparaiso.
The Better Block Project was Thursday August 4th from 4-9. It was on Indiana Ave between /franklin and Valparaiso Street. It was an evening celebrating the creative district with a night of art, food, music and even a flamethrower. This event celebrated the newly created Valparaiso Creative District Plan. The purpose of the Block Project was to get the community actively engaged in the art district creation and give feedback on their plans.
Tyler Kent Valparaiso City Planner shared about working with Carley “She has a planning background, which makes it very easy to work with her. We talk the same language” Smiles Kent.
Tyler was thrilled with Carley’s design background and how it helped with the Better Block Project. I personally don’t have the design background. Carleys going to teach me how to draw a straight line before she leaves “ jokes Kent. Tyler was happy and excited that Carley choose her hometown to come to and be an intern. He was very pleased with how the event turned out and how many people came.
Carley wasn’t the only Valparaiso Graduate involved in Thursday evening’s event. Cassie Kerns a 2005 had a booth at the vent displaying her amazing artwork. Cassie is a full time artist that lives in Indianapolis.
“Valpo has changed for the better. It’s a lot more culture and that is fulfilling. One reason I left was because it was so stagnant” Shares Cassie.
Cassie is now considering being a dual resident. She may be splitting her time between Valparaiso and Indy. One thing that is drawing Cassie back home is the art district. “ I realized how much Vaplo is growing. I sensed that it’s on the verge of something in the art scene. I want to be able to put my two scents in there and help out with it” smiles Cassie.
As Valparaiso’s downtown continues to evolve and grow, more college students will want to return back to their hometown once they graduate. It is also a town for families. There were lots of families enjoying a night out seeing some art, eating at the food trucks and enjoying some music. I have to say I am proud to be a part of this community.