History Of The Hobart Community Foundation
HIEDC began in 1986 as a committee of the Hobart Industrial and Commercial Foundation. NIPSCO sponsored various workshops with speakers from the Ball State University Economic Development Academy to educate business and community leaders on how to stimulate development. A three-part plan was adopted:
- Promote industrial development through retention and expansion of existing businesses.
- Revitalize the downtown business district.
- Develop Hobart’s greatest assets.
Later that year, the Indiana Department of Commerce awarded HIEDC with a grant, which enabled us to hire our first executive director. The Foundation provided the local matching funds along with contributions from local businesses and individuals. The Hobart Chamber of Commerce provided office space and support. HIEDC then began a business retention and expansion effort, a three-phased lakefront development and a downtown revitalization plan. In 1987, HIEDC contracted with Hitchcock and Associates to develop a plan for Phase I. HIEDC applied for grants from the Indiana Department of Commerce and the Indiana Department of natural Resources. The community provided local matching funds, and the Hobart Parks Department and individual volunteers spent countless hours to turn a former dump and landfill into Festival Park. In 1988, Festival park was dedicated as part of a city-wide frstival “Hoosier Celebration ’88″ a forerunner of today’s Hobart Lakefront Festival. Festival Park was completed in 1990, and Phase II plans were put together in the Spring of 1991. HIEDC hired Bonar Group to develop the plan and within a few weeks, public hearings were held. Grants from the Indiana Department of Commerce helped fund plan development and land acquisition. Two grants from the Indiana Department of natural Resources were awarded to help with construction. A $615,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT-ISTEA fund) was a tremendous help to complete the project. From 1991 to 1996 many steps took place to accomidate the needs of affected businesses, as well as land acquisition, environmental permits, wetland mitigation, park board and city council.
In 2005 the Board of Directors began working on a plan to reinvigorate the organization. In 2006, HIEDC was renamed the Hobart Community Foundation and the groups mission and bylaws were changed.