JASPER — This morning, Jasper was named the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s “Community of the Year” for 2018. The announcement was made at a joint press conference hosted by the city and chamber at The Parklands in Jasper.

“Ladies and gentlemen, and to our friends at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, we offer our gratitude for this honor,” Jasper Mayor Terry Seitz said at this morning’s event. “It is not, as you said, a one person thing. It is not a one event show. It’s not one entity that actually has earned this. It truly is the community. And it’s Jasper’s time, and the best is yet to come.”

The Indiana Chamber’s Community of the Year Award is given annually to a Hoosier community for significant contributions to its local business climate and overall image, according to a press release. Jasper was nominated by Brenda Stallings, the CEO of Matrix Integration and member of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce board.

“Jasper was born on rich soil that has made us an agriculture and manufacturing hot spot in our great state of Indiana,” Stallings said. “We’re progressive because of the many public and private partnerships that have happened here for many, many, many years. And you get that hometown feeling when you live, work and play here.”

Seitz explained that six years ago, the city shifted its focus to making itself even better by putting a key focus on quality of place initiatives with the goal of attracting talent to workplaces. Today, we are seeing the “astonishing results,” he said, referencing the old industrial properties that are currently being repurposed into housing, a hotel, a commercial space, cultural center and library.

He said the Community of the Year designation is significant.

“First of all, we had to be nominated by an Indiana Chamber member and we’re grateful a company thought so highly of what we are doing,” he said. “To then be named the recipient is a culmination of years of vision, planning and execution by hundreds of people. We are indeed honored.”

According to Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar, strong public-private partnerships are at the cornerstone of community success.

“Jasper leaders have demonstrated the ability to work together for many years and residents have strongly contributed through their immense pride in their city,” he said in the press release. “Jasper is most deserving of this recognition.”

The award will be presented at the Indiana Chamber’s Annual Dinner in Indianapolis on Nov. 13. A special Community of the Year section is available for Jasper supporters.

Learn more at www.indianachamber.com/jasper.

Past Community of the Year Award winners include Indianapolis, Bedford, Bloomington, Carmel, Fishers, and most recently in 2017, Goshen.

By ALLEN LAMAN of the Dubois County Herald