A group of community-minded young professionals are coming together to make Seymour what they want it to be.

Calling their group Vision 2025, the late 20 to early 40 somethings, most of whom are Seymour natives, are collaborating to develop a plan to make positive changes in the city during the next 10 years.

Those changes will focus on five areas: Enhancing the culture and appearance of Seymour, expanding education and economic opportunity, revitalizing downtown, strengthening and sustaining community resources and communication and promoting health.

Leading the group are Dr. Nate Otte, a local optometrist and Tonja Couch, director of Jackson County United Way.

The idea for Vision 2025 came from a discussion between Couch, Otte and Mayor Craig Luedeman on the city’s strengths and weaknesses and its overall identity.

“We want to develop the future identity of Seymour, obtain the resources needed to achieve this vision and create a roadmap to implement these changes by 2025,” Otte said.

Currently, there are about 30 people involved in the foundational phase of Vision 2025, but it will take many more, of all ages, backgrounds and interests for the group to make a difference.

Couch said growing up in Seymour, she has seen the importance and value of community service. She hopes Vision 2025 is a way for her generation to step up and make Seymour a place where more people want to live.

“I saw how important it was to give back to the community to make it a better place by watching my parents, teachers and mentors volunteer, lend their voice and create change,” she said. “I believe Seymour residents will continue to inspire future generations to give of themselves.”

To reach a wide audience and attract more participation in discussions through social media, the group has created a Facebook page for Vision 2025.

The public is welcome to like the page and leave messages and posts with ideas, suggestions and questions.

Otte said Vision 2025 not about turning Seymour into Columbus or any other city, but capitalizing on what it has and what it could have.

“Seymour has the potential to be a great small city,” he said. “ We have many unique and under-utilized resources which set us apart.”

In 10 years, the goal is for Seymour to “embrace its small town values, while becoming a vibrant and innovative community where neighbors, generations and cultures connect,” according to the group’s vision statement.

The next phase of Vision 2025 is to develop an action plan and recruit others to join and work on projects and initiatives in each of the five focus areas.

Seymour’s recent selection to participate in the state’s Hometown Collaboration Initiative will also play a role in the group’s work and in further engaging the community, Otte said.

The program is giving the city the opportunity to partner with Ball State University and Purdue University to develop ideas on how to improve the city’s appeal and ways to implement those ideas.

The key for the city’s future success begins with improving communication between community leaders, organizations and residents, Otte added.

He hopes Vision 2025 does just that.

“I see the next few years as a pivotal time for our community to grow in an exciting direction,” he said.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at or 812-523-7069.