Press Release: NIRPC Strives to go Beyond the Process by Modernizing Outreach Strategies

January 6, 2020


Contact: Dominique Edwards, Public Participation Planner 219-763-6060; dedwards@nirpc.org

NIRPC Strives to go Beyond the Process by Modernizing Outreach Strategies

Portage, IN – The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) was recognized for its achievements by the Indiana Metropolitan Planning Organization Council at its 2019 MPO Conference in Fort Wayne, where NIRPC was awarded the Outstanding Public Involvement Award for its NWI 2050 Long-Range Plan and related public outreach strategy,  Engage NWI.

“We are incredibly grateful for being recognized by our peers at the state level, but we are even more grateful for the members of our communities, community partners, our federal and state partners, committee members, Commissioners, and our agency staff that were instrumental in getting us there,” said Dominique Edwards, NIRPC’s Public Participation Planner.

A combination of traditional and non-traditional outreach methods were undertaken by the agency with the onboarding of Edwards, who joined the agency in March of 2018. NIRPC organized 20 traditional engagement opportunities such as public meetings, hearings, and workshops as well as 30 non-traditional engagement opportunities such as pop-up events and “out-and-abouts” (meetings with community leaders and community groups) across the region, offering the public roughly 50 opportunities to engage with the agency since Spring of last year. In addition, The agency’s regular meeting structure provided the public with even more opportunities to engage with the agency.

“As regional planners, we boil down technical language, provide better transparency and clarity, and continue to work to include everyone in our planning processes,” said Edwards. “We are striving to go beyond the process to continue providing opportunities for the public to get involved with the agency. This includes improving our existing strategies, implementing new strategies, and adding more tools to our toolkit.”

Although all required federal planning processes have been completed by NIRPC, regional planners are still working beyond the process to continue to actively engage the public, improve the agency’s outreach and engagement strategies, and scope the agency’s update of its Unified Planning Work Program.

Completion and approval of these federal planning processes allows NIRPC to remain certified as the metropolitan planning organization for Lake, Porter and La Porte counties, which allows the region access to transformative investments estimated at $115 million in surface infrastructure projects and $742,264,815 in transit projects between 2020-2024. (These totals do not include any projects on state roads or interstates, which are funded through the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).) NIRPC is the Metropolitan Planning Organization and regional council of local governments for Northwest Indiana.  NIRPC’s purpose, as put forth in Indiana state statute, is to “provide a coordinative management process for Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties and to institute and maintain a comprehensive planning and programming process for transportation, economic development, and environmental policy.”

Last modified: January 6, 2020