Michiana 2027: St. Joseph County towns booming

Michiana 2027: St. Joseph County towns booming

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - Big changes are happening in St. Joseph County’s small towns.

North Liberty, for example, has changed and grown rapidly in the past seven years.

“You’re not a stranger here, you’re welcome here,” town treasurer and clerk Vicki Kitchen said.

Kitchen calls North Liberty home, and has been helping make shifts happen.

“We all started in 2010, we started with our downtown beautification, and it’s just kind of avalanched from there,” Kitchen said.

In 2010, the population of North Liberty had already grown by 404 people, and it continues to grow.

Kitchen says the community is has strong livability, and it just keeps getting more comfortable.

The school trail just opened in town, with a bridge over Potato Creek.

“It gets everybody in town moving. It gives them a place to walk. They can go around the subdivision and come back, go back by the school,” Kitchen said.

The town also has a well-ranked school system, with a B grade on niche.com.

Walkerton schools also have a B grade, and New Prarie has a B-.

All three towns have grown steadily in population in the last seven years.

Executive Director of Economic Development for St. Joseph County, Bill Schalliol says while big cities are booming, small towns are exploding.  

“I think what you’re really going to see is just a growth that we just haven’t seen in this area. A lot of new developments and a lot of quality of life improvements, things like that that are really going to make this area very special,” Schalliol said.

Making a town attractive takes time, and Schalliol says it has to happen in many different areas.

The towns will also never feel like the big cities, because that isn’t their appeal.

“Sometimes you want to get a little bit more rural or a little more smaller town, and our small towns are just really amazing, off the charts with some things they’re looking to do and just where their growth is going to be,” Schalliol said.

North Liberty’s growth continues.

Next year, a brand new, nearly $800,000 walking path will start outside the community center.

It’s just one of many projects this certified Stellar Community has been awarded.

Kitchen is behind many of the improvements.

She writes most of the grant submissions for funds to improve the community.

“Come grow with us. We’re happy to have you. You have to just come check us out yourself,” Kitchen said.

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