ValpoNEXT Looks to Businesses

valpo-nextValparaiso’s ValpoNEXT visioning initiative continues to gather information, this time focusing on the business community. ValpoNEXT is introducing a survey for Valparaiso businesses to collect ideas that will assist in developing the business and economic development components of the overall visioning plan. Valparaiso businesses are encouraged to take the survey, which can be found at

“Businesses play a crucial role in the future of our city. By reaching out to businesses, we hope to learn more about the city’s market base, labor force, competitive advantages, and challenges so that we can create a plan that maximizes opportunities for all,” said Tyler Kent, Valparaiso’s Planning Director. The survey takes eight to 12 minutes to complete and all answers are confidential. “Each person who participates is a valuable part of the overall picture,” Kent said. The ValpoNEXT visioning team has also met with businesses in focus groups, and will combine all results with a study of the regional and national business picture.

Yet business is just one component of the multi-faceted ValpoNEXT vision plan. The process began in February with a series of Big Idea Workshops in which the entire community was invited to submit their thoughts. More than 300 people participated, contributing ideas for infrastructure, recreation, and community improvement. In addition, more than 3,000 members of the community are engaged via the project’s Facebook page, In coming weeks, ValpoNEXT will also be reaching out to students to get their ideas for what they’d like to see happen in Valparaiso over the coming decades. “It’s an all-inclusive process. We want to hear everyone’s thoughts and match these ideas with possibilities and plans,” said Elizabeth Lynn, Valpo resident and co-chair of ValpoNEXT.

Another way to continue submitting ideas is to participate in the online discussion forum at “We hope people will log on and become part of the discussion. We welcome further ideas and feedback,” said Matt Evans, longtime Valpo resident and co-chair of the ValpoNEXT committee. The online forum will introduce questions on a variety of topics in the coming months. The next major event will be the Community Summit, planned for the last week of May.

The visioning process will result in a specific implementation plan for the next 20 to 30 years. The plan will be completed by this fall. To learn more about the ValpoNEXT visioning project, visit or find it on Facebook at “Valpo Next.” You may also call Valparaiso’s Planning Director, Tyler Kent, at 219-462-1161 x. 3331.