2020 will be the 99th season of golf and tennis at Rea Park since it opened in 1922.
According to CountyHealthRankings.com, Vigo County ranks near the bottom of Indiana and the nation in overall health. Rankings for Vigo County have fallen for eight consecutive years - 2011 thru 2019! There is an on-going local health crisis that is affecting our community's ability to attract and retain a qualified work force. Our county's health is getting worse, not better!
2019 Ranking Data for Vigo County - Out of 92 Indiana Counties ...
The rapidly growing communities of Bloomington, IN and Lafayette, IN consistently rank near the top of Indiana's healthy counties. Both cities invest millions more dollars in their health and recreation budgets than do Terre Haute and Vigo County. Their populations are growing and they are becoming more prosperous with each passing year.
As a state, the health of Indiana's citizens ranks in the lower 20% of the U.S. (41st in 2019). This means Vigo County has one of the poorest heath rankings within a state that has one of the poorest heath rankings in our country. Our rankings have been on the decline since 2011, they are not getting better. In 2019, they fell to 83rd, Vigo County's lowest ranking ever! This cannot be good news for those trying to persuade new businesses to relocated to our city.
If we want growing companies to look at our city, then we need to change our approach to maintaining our health as a community.
Economic development rests on a three-legged stool. Using this analogy, the first leg consists of workforce readiness skills and attributes, and the institutions that develop them. The second leg represents a community's strategic location, physical infrastructure, and fiscal means. The third and last leg, the one that seems to be missing in Vigo County, represents the health and wellness of its' populace. If one of the stool's legs is wobbly or missing, the stool becomes unstable.
Our community needs to create an economic development plan that has all three legs functioning equally. A strategy to improve our citizen's health and fitness should be a priority. About forty-nine percent of our residents fall between the ages of 25 and 64. What kind of recreational and healthy activities are our city and county governments providing for this group? This is important, as these individuals comprise the majority of our workforce.
Friends of Rea Park, Inc.'s plan for the renewal of Historic Rea Park addresses this problem.