Chelsea Schneider, Municipal Innovations Specialist, Aim
The organizer of Special Olympics meets. The designer of Logansport’s city flag. A state speech champion.
Since 2016, the city of Logansport has named a Citizen of the Week. The program started as a way to celebrate Indiana’s bicentennial by recognizing residents who are contributing to Logansport’s quality of life, often through ways that are unappreciated or unknown.
The program was so popular city leaders decided to continue naming a Citizen of the Week after the bicentennial. It’s a way to bring the community together and define the city’s character through its residents, Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell said.
“It’s just a way to acknowledge your local pride, but it’s also the people who kind of raise the bar for things. You’re proud that they’re from your community,” Kitchell said.
Recent award recipients include a teacher who began a diploma recovery program and the leader of a suicide prevention event. Winners receive a certificate and a gift card to a local restaurant. They’re also invited to be a part of Logansport’s annual holiday parade.
Along with recognizing those contributing to Logansport, the program has helped young people and new residents of the city by introducing the community’s history and folklore, Kitchell said. The program facilitates connections among residents and highlights causes they champion. And it has paid tribute to some of the city’s most famous residents, including actor Greg Kinnear who grew up in the city and was recognized as Logansport Indiana Bicentennial Citizen of the Year in 2016.
“Any community is only as good as the people who are in it,” Kitchell said. “It’s not a geographic destination so much as the people who make it go.”
In addition to Citizen of the Week, Kitchell has led the charge for Logansport to analyze ways its policies compare with similarly-sized cities in the state. That’s prompted city leaders to explore a wide-range of issues, including whether the benefits package it offers law enforcement is competitive, permit fees and parking policies.
“A lot of times the budget exercises are just going through the motions kind of thing,” Kitchell said. “And this way we try to look at it more proactively.”