ODON — The White River Military Coordination Alliance held its quarterly meeting Friday, May 6, at Westgate Academy, followed by a tour of Naval Support Activity Crane.
Attendees included community members, economic development representatives, and NSA Crane leadership, who received updates from the Alliance on key initiatives aimed at improving economic development around military installations.
Teresa Nolley, City of Loogootee, was voted in as the Alliance’s interim Secretary. Kent Parisien, Chair of the Crane Regional Defense Group, also provided an update on that organization’s upcoming events, including coordinating this year’s Team Crane Congressional Breakfast on June 22.
Following the organizational updates, Mark Dobbs, NSA Crane Community Planning Liaison Officer, provided the group with an overview of the Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape. The initiative allows for collaboration to achieve mutually beneficial goals related to land conservation while protecting the military mission and enhancing environmental stewardship of southern Indiana’s natural landscape. The Alliance will play a pivotal role in engaging the community and connecting them to opportunities thanks to the new designation.
The group also took part in a brainstorming exercise, analyzing legislative initiatives aimed at supporting economic development near military installations that remains compatible with the military mission.
Lastly, Joe Carley, Director, IU Center for Rural Engagement and Innovate Indiana presented details on the newly established Uplands Science and Technology Foundation. The foundation was established following the completion of a master strategic plan in 2021 with the purpose of developing the WestGate Technology Park ecosystem.
Following the meeting, attendees toured NSA Crane after a long two years of tight COVID-19 restrictions. For some, it was their first time on the base and offered a fantastic opportunity to see how the Alliance’s initiatives can impact the installation and its overall mission in support of the nation’s warfighters.
The next quarterly Alliance meeting will be held on August 5 and will feature Jim Tidd with the Indiana Defense Task Force to provide an overview and highlights from the Crane Congressional Breakfast. Additionally, regional elected officials will be in attendance to speak on the importance of NSA Crane to their communities.