Reports & Analysis

Key documents, memos, and presentations created throughout the LaGrange County Together planning process will be posted here for download and review.

Technical Analysis Memos

The Comprehensive Plan is made up of 11 topics that range from land use and transportation to natural resources and education. This research and analysis will help inform the plan’s final recommendations. Key findings will be presented below as they become available and will be updated throughout the process.

PLACE (Available for review)

  • Land Use
  • Agriculture
  • Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation, and Trails

PEOPLE

  • Placemaking
  • Education

PROSPERITY (Available for review)

  • Fiscal Capacity
  • Economic Development
  • Housing

FOUNDATIONS

  • Roads/Transportation
  • Infrastructure
  • Broadband

PLACE

The place section presents key trends, assets, and opportunities for the built and natural environment. This analysis include land use, agriculture, and natural resources, parks & recreation, and trails. 

Key Findings

Land Use

  • LaGrange is a predominantly agricultural community. 86% of the county’s land (207,000 acres) is classified under agricultural use and supports a wide range of activities, from large-scale farming operations to small-scale, specialty, and organic crops and retail sales.
  • Growth and development are occurring. Since 2000, nearly 7,300 acres (~3%) of land has been developed, mostly around LaGrange, Shipshewana, and Topeka.
  • The county is unique in community character, both in terms of what is present and what is absent. The range and intensity of uses within the agricultural parts of the county are unlike few other places in the US; the absence of “big box” and large format retail is also unique for a county of this size.

Agriculture

  • Farmland trends within the county stand out from the State of Indiana. LaGrange has seen an increase in the number of farms and a decrease in the average farm size, the opposite of the trends across the state.
  • LaGrange County is in the top ten in several key agricultural areas, a major feature of its economy. It is the top agricultural producer in cattle and calves as well as in horses, ponies, and mules. It also ranks 3rd out of 92 counties for the sale of livestock, poultry, and products and ranks 6th in the state for Total Market Value of Agricultural Products sold.
  • The county is well positioned to leverage agritourism opportunities and expand Farm-to-Fork initiatives. Several farms are already leading the way in direct-to-consumer sales, and with the significant influx of tourists each year, there are latent opportunities to grow in these initiatives.

Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation, and Trails

  • LaGrange County has significantly above average parkland per capita, but it may not be accessible to all residents. The county has over 320 acres of nature preserves, wildlife areas, and county parks per 1,000 residents. These assets, however, are concentrated in the eastern half of the county and may not adequately serve residents in the western half.
  • Trail miles are lacking. With only 5 miles of existing multi-use trails, LaGrange County has a significant opportunity to serve its residents and capture visitors’ spending by expanding its trail network.
  • Several features of the county make it prone to groundwater contamination and flooding. The high water table, along with the prevalence of wells and septic systems, make the county susceptible to groundwater contamination. Several initiatives are already underway to mitigate these hazards; continued vigilance and creativity will be necessary to preserve high quality of life and resources.