The League of Women Voters has been studying and supporting Economic Health of Montgomery County for many years. The LWV position notes there are many factors that contribute to economic health including the perception of livability which includes strong business and industry and an available workforce, education and training, recreation and tourism, social and cultural opportunities, health care and support services, housing, transportation and mobility.

Cooperation and coordination among the city, the county, and other local entities are exceedingly important to the economic health and development of Montgomery County, and directly impact all these factors. Genuine dialogue among all players in the county with continued education and understanding of what is involved in economic development is essential.

Consistent, focused and coherent activity with consideration given to long-term goals is vital. A willingness to invest real resources when needed is also important.

To be successful, our entire county must be welcoming and supportive of those establishing or running local businesses, those choosing to live here (regardless of where they work), new people to our county, and those interested in participating in the various communities-including those seeking elected and appointed offices.

Crawfordsville and Montgomery County can have different priorities and emphases.

However, elected/appointed officials and economic development players must share information about economic opportunities and consciously work to avoid public misunderstandings that send conflicting and negative messages. Actively building partnerships between government and local organizations (e.g. Chamber of Commerce, MCED, local businesses, service organizations, nonprofit groups, schools, IVY Tech, and Wabash College) will expand opportunities and build ties within the county.

Cooperative planning for smart growth will foster the community's ability to provide the needed infrastructure (including utilities, high-speed internet access, and transportation) in an orderly economic pattern and avoid costly sudden demands for services.

Central to the economic health of the county are healthy, vibrant downtowns, particularly in the county seat. The League supports efforts to strengthen, revitalize, and preserve healthy downtown areas through appropriate planning, retail development, and collaborations between public and private entities.

Parks and recreational opportunities, as well as museum and historic sites, contribute to the economic well-being of our county. They benefit Crawfordsville and Montgomery County economically by increasing tourism, providing a wide range of opportunities for citizens to improve their health and consequently their productivity and longevity.

Moreover, they create a send of community and quality of life that attracts prospective citizens, businesses and industry. Millions of outside dollars are contributed in direct expenditures, generating tax revenues, new jobs and increased retail business, as well as attracting additional grant income and enhancing the image of Crawfordsville and Montgomery County.

Long-range planning and adequate funding for facilities and staff are essential to optimize these economic benefits.