Grassroots initiative aimed at bettering the community gaining ground in Elkhart County

NOW: Grassroots initiative aimed at bettering the community gaining ground in Elkhart County


ELKHART, Ind. -- Three years after their start-up, a grassroots initiative working to make improvements to Elkhart County celebrated their successes Thursday.

The Vibrant Communities movement made an ambitious 77-item action driven agenda back in 2016. Now, in 2019, 52 of those projects are either complete or in progress.

“Vibrant Communities is an initiative we started to be cheerleaders for projects happening in the community,” Arvis Dawson said, who co-chairs Vibrant Communities. “The fact that we had 77 initiatives to start out with and 52 of those have actually either come to fruition or are in the planning stages or are under construction. I think it’s excellent. It speaks volumes for our community.”

The goal is making Elkhart County a place no one ever has to leave by helping to plan and fund different social offerings in the area.

“I particular want my grandkids to come back here, you know when they go off and do their thing, i want them to see this as a place where they can raise a family,” Dawson said.

Dawson said he thinks the movement has made impressive progress in the last three years and the community agrees.

“It’s made a big impact on Elkhart County,” Rex Gleim said, who volunteers with Vibrant Communities.

After its launch in 2016, Gleim decided to get involved because he wanted to better his community.

“I just feel that in order for Elkhart County to be vibrant, individual people need to get involved,” Gleim said.

Gleim has helped with planning a few developments in his hometown of Middlebury. He represents how virtually anyone who wants to see a change in Elkhart County can make it happen with the help of Vibrant Communities.

“Anybody can make those changes,” Gleim said. “But it takes your initiative, to go ahead and work that direction. Step forward. Volunteer. And then follow through.”

Dawson said he’d also like to see more volunteers to come up with fresh new ideas for every city in Elkhart County.

“We want people to be engaged in the movement,” Dawson said. “A movement has to keep moving. In order for us to do that we need to gain volunteers and people who are excited about living, working, and playing here.”

For more information on how to get involved with Vibrant Communities, Click Here.

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