Community chalkboards share residents’ thoughts


By Heather Lusk

Zionsville Rocks because… everything is walkable, everyone is nice and schools are awesome, according to a new chalkboard sign installed behind town hall.

Residents are invited to share their own thoughts about Zionsville by writing in chalk on a public community board. The 4-by-6-foot board along the Big 4 Trail features the hashtag #ZionsvilleRocks.

Similar boards have popped up throughout the United States the last few decades, inspiring passersby to express their feelings, such as, “I wish I had the courage to…,” or, “Before I die …,” to collect public input for the use of nearby spaces or alleyways.

Megan Swain, Boone County Economic Development Corporation’s community development director, initiated the local implementation. She was inspired by a similar project in New Orleans. The “Before I die…” community board was created by a Louisiana artist to start a conversation and share aspirations.

“I transformed it into, ‘I love my town’ boards,” Swain said.

A  chalkboard also has been placed in Whitestown near the downtown intersection with plans to add more in other Boone County towns. Whitestown’s hashtag is #WhitestownProud.

A recent Boone County community development survey showed that residents are most interested in green spaces, trails and public art.

“It goes hand-in-hand with our strategic plan,” said Molly Whitehead, Boone EDC executive director. “It creates some good opportunities to tie those wish list items together.”

The idea was brought to officials in both towns. Town leaders “jumped on the idea,” according to Whitehead. Indy’s Pro Graphix partnered with the Boone County EDC to provide the boards at a reduced rate.

The boards are checked periodically to remove impolite language, but the community is asked to assist in erasing anything that might not be family friendly.

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