Business View Magazine | April 2020

209 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE APRIL 2020 STARKE COUNTY, INDIANA Caring for community S tarke County, Indiana has a long legacy of caring for its people and that inherent focus on community was never more prevalent than now, as the region begins to grow and plan for the future. Created in 1835 and organized in 1850, Starke County was named for Gen. John Stark, who commanded New Hampshire troops at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, and defeated the British at the Battle of Bennington in 1777. Today, the County consists of the city of Knox (County Seat), the towns of Hamlet and North Judson, and the townships of California, Center, Davis, Jackson, North Bend, Oregon, Railroad, Washington, and Wayne. The northwestern boundary of Starke County is defined by the Kankakee River, and the Yellow River flows through the central part of the county, past Knox. To discover just how Starke County is investing in its future development, Business View Magazine spoke to Larry Wickert, Executive Director of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation; Andrew Rowe, North Judson Town Clerk; and Rik Ritzler, Starke County Highway Superintendent. The following edited transcript gives a wide-angle view of the growth plans from their unique perspectives. BVM: Can you introduce us to Starke County from an Economic Development focus? Wickert: “Starke County is a rural community of about 23,000 people. We have one small city, Knox, of about 3,700 people and two small incorporated towns – North Judson, about 1,800 and Hamlet is about 800. Agriculture is a big part of what goes on here. One of the big things we’ve been involved in over the last year is the Stellar Communities effort, a State of Indiana program to provide economic support in rural areas. They select one region and although we