Efforts to build the future of Crawford County are getting a $10,000 boost from Marathon Petroleum.
Marathon has donated $10,000 to the Crawford County Development Association to foster the development of a new strategic plan for Crawford County.
CCDA Executive Director Alex Pleasant announced the donation this week. The strategic plan will be developed by the CCDA and other community leaders in order to help guide future economic and community development initiatives for the county.
The goal, Pleasant explained, is to make "a clear-eyed assessment" of the county's strengths and weaknesses both economically and in regards to quality of life issues.
A steering committee is being assembled. Pleasant hopes it will be "an inclusive group of community leaders from all facets of life in the county."
The oil company's assistance is a key component, he added.
"Marathon's donation is critical to pulling together this community effort," Pleasant said. "We have the opportunity with this plan to lead a community effort to define our future as a region.
"We'll be building off of some work that the United Way has done over the last couple of years to target some challenges that our communities face and some opportunities where we believe that we are uniquely situated to help the people of Crawford County thrive," he said.
The United Way effort identified housing, recreation and high-speed Internet as core issues to be addressed, according to Pleasant.
"I would expect this plan to include specific actions that can be taken either by local government or industry or both to address those issues and probably four or five more core areas depending on what our research reveals."
The donation will be primarily targeted at the expenses associated with data collection efforts.
"At this time, we've opted to make this a locally led effort as opposed to hiring an outside consultant," Pleasant said.
"We believe that we can produce a professional-quality plan much more economically by tapping into local expertise and, fortunately, Marathon has been great about trusting us to take on this kind of role."