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Evansville VOICE

Leadership Everyone’s VOICE initiative, launched in 2012 in partnership with the City of Evansville Mayor’s Office, was a series of community visioning sessions that enabled participants to converse about their hopes and dreams for our community.

  • Over 3,000 people took part in the 32 initial visioning sessions across the community that enabled a diverse population to be heard.
  • VOICE gathered data from a diverse population. LE utilized this for grantmaking, sustainable projects, and comprehensive plans: Regional Cities, The Promise Zone Initiative, and Evansville’s Downtown Master Plan.
  • VOICE inspired, servant-leader-led projects like: ParksFest, The Franklin Street Bazaar, Evansville’s Cultural Districts, and the Haynie’s Corner Arts District revitalization.

As Leadership Everyone has continued to have conversations throughout the region and hearing of similar challenges and potential, now is the right time to launch our next phase—Regional VOICE.

Evansville VOICE Outcomes

Watch a Message About Our Initiative

Volunteers & Contributors

People Impacted

Evansville VOICE Themes That Arose

Through community visioning sessions, three themes arose as areas of importance in order to begin collaborative, strategic planning and action: Healthy Green Spaces, City Core, and Experiences.

Healthy Green Spaces

Voice respondents have continuously expressed a desire to be outside and active in our community. The importance that is  placed on our community’s health and wellbeing is tremendous and encouraging.

City Core

Evansville consists of many great neighborhoods and cultural hot spots such as Franklin Street, Haynie’s Corner, downtown, the historic district, and the universities. It is our goal to further support, connect, and promote these treasures that our city has to offer.


Evansville’s residents recognize that there are a variety of opportunities to engage with their city and want to highlight, showcase, and celebrate them in a more organized and collective way. Also, bring fresh, new opportunities for citizens to intensively experience with the goal of creating demand for these experiences to remain in our community.

Watch a Message About Our Initiative

Volunteers & Contributors

People Impacted

Evansville VOICE Outcomes

Franklin Street Bazaar

The Franklin Street Bazaar takes place every Saturday from June 21st to September 20th between 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The bazaar features local produce, art, baked goods, and services. There is also live music, diverse and ethnic hot food vendors, and children’s activities every week. There are new vendors joining us every week. Sue Conaway, Franklin Street Bazaar-Market Master, personally visits every farm to assure that safe producing and harvesting standards are followed. The Bazaar is committed to quality, local only produce for our community.

Culver Hoop House

The Culver Hoop House was erected on-site as part of an urban gardening project to:

  • Increase student and family knowledge of healthy foods and eating habits
  • Provide hands-on science learning experiences for young children
  • Teach vegetable and fruit gardening to young children and families living in an urban environment
  • Engage neighbors, community and educational organizations as volunteers and support systems for the project

Similar to a greenhouse, the Hoop House is a tunnel-shaped structure that covers raised garden beds. It is left open during the growing season and covered with plastic or other insulating material to hold in heat during colder months.

The Hoop House is beneficial in teaching children about nutrition, healthy food choices and helps them understand where the food they eat comes from.

CK Newsome Family Learning Center

Our vision for this garden is to be a place where the community can learn to garden using innovative techniques tailored for small places. It is going to include as much recycled or upcycled material as possible. We would like this garden to be a whimsical place where children and adults, alike, will enjoy learning how to grow their own food. In addition, we would like to feed as many people in the community as possible, giving the local neighborhood a place to get fresh vegetables all growing season. We estimate 20 to 25 families, just from the CK Newsome Center, that we would like to be able to feed. Our idea would incorporate the use of raised beds with pebble paths between.

Besides the garden, we are working on a second project that involves constructing green infrastructure in the front of the plot of land. This second project will be focused on rain water diversion and retention, keeping over 1 million gallons of storm water out of Evansville’s combined sewer system. Ideally, this system would not only retain rain water runoff, but also irrigate the garden year round.

Cultural Districts

The Cultural Districts will be designed to increase the cultural value and understanding of Evansville as recognized by residents who account for a large portion of out of town visits to the area each year as well as selling “quality of life” to potential employers as well as those they hire.

The goal is to create an action plan for each district that is made in partnership with the people who live, work, and play in the district. Plus, ultimately, develop logos, signage, and marketing materials for each district. Some of this has already been started in the Haynie’s Corner Art District. The five districts are:

  • West Franklin
  • Downtown
  • Arts District
  • North Main Street
  • University of Evansville & Neighborhoods

Fun, family, music and community spirit are what ParksFest music festival is all about. ParksFest fun features music from ten regional bands and includes activities for kids and adults alike. For more information visit Garvin Park is one of Evansville’s oldest and most popular parks, located at Don Mattingly Way next to historic Bosse Field. The festival’s live musical entertainment covers a range of genres from country to bluegrass and rock-n-roll. Featured bands include: Gentlemen and Scholars, 23 String Band, The Honey Vines, Factor Primo, and six other talented regional groups. Early in the day, the festival is geared toward family, with games for children and families. Family fun activities include bounce houses, Zorb Balls, piano painting, hula-hooping and a harmonica workshop by Art the dude. As the day progresses into night, the music intensifies and the large beer garden, with multiple craft beers from all over the region, becomes the destination of choice, the place to be seen.

ParksFest includes a marketplace for local artists to trade their art, crafts and hand-made items. Food and beverage selections are plentiful, include healthy options and some of the following community favorites: Pizza Revolution, Longfellows Barbecue, Sunshine Juice Co., Penny Lane, and many more. ParksFest is a nonprofit event made possible through a collaborative effort with the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana and many other groups and individuals dedicated to bringing fun to Evansville’s residents and showcasing our city parks’ beauty. Evansville residents have been asking for a fun community event like ParksFest.

Fall In Love On Main

In Love on Main was a one night only, pop-up event for Valentine’s Day in downtown Evansville. The night offered two catered tasting sessions, a full bar, a chocolate vendor, and live music and dancing all night long. This event was quite an accomplishment as it brought hundreds of citizens out for an interesting and unique evening in Evansville. Many community leaders, business owners, and volunteers came together to collaborate and make this project so successful. Furthermore, In Love on Main was also able to inspire other organizations to host similar pop-up style events in Evansville. This event served as a positive step forward in making Evansville an even more interesting, exciting, and diverse place to live and work.

FSEA Community Garden

The community garden is located at 2524 W. Franklin Street. Over half of the beds belong to different community non-for profits, as well as beds for the children of the neighborhood. It is a great space where neighbors, Franklin Street employees of many of the different businesses, and the community at large gather to not only work on various projects, but just to spend time together working on a common cause. The community beds are there to harvest for anyone in the neighborhood.

Main Course Challenge

Basically, we’re helping open a restaurant! BIG things are happening in downtown Evansville, Indiana, our primary center for business, culture, and government. As part of that, this Main Course Challenge aims to grow food downtown & the food scene, that is. We want to add even more local flavor and menu options for downtown dining in Southern Indiana’s largest city. We’ve selected an excellent Main Street location and lined up a host of key investors to make it happen. All we need now is a winning idea, strategy, and commitment.

Millennial Plan 2040

When you think of how the Evansville region will look like in 2040, what do you see?  Are we a family-friendly region?  Are we known for our extensive transit system?  Are we known for our reasonable cost of living and exceptional parks facilities?  Or maybe we are known for our abundance of available jobs or numerous well-regarded institutes of higher education? What steps can we take now to reach this preferred future for upcoming generations to enjoy?

The overall goals of the project are in accordance with the following HUD livability principles:

  • Provide more transportation choices.
  • Promote equitable, affordable housing.
  • Enhance economic competitiveness.
  • Support existing communities.
  • Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment.
  • Value Communities and neighborhoods.

See EVV is an original trivia hunt event created by Evansville-area volunteers and encourages Evansville-area residents to experience first-hand the many extraordinary attractions, interesting history, and beautiful architecture and scenery throughout the downtown Evansville area. The trivia hunt spotlights dozens of locations throughout the downtown area and may be covered using a vehicle or bicycle, or on foot. Using the greenway is encouraged for those walking. The event will be organized similar to scavenger-hunt style. Clues for finding notable downtown and Franklin Street features and locations will be provided.

The See EVV trivia hunt event is free and open to the public. The event was created to be fun for people of all ages. The clues span from Franklin Street through downtown Evansville. Therefore, those wanting to uncover all clues should be comfortable walking the entire course or have access to transportation by bicycle or vehicle. For more information or to register, go to

Stay Informed

VOICE is a region-wide initiative facilitated, produced, and managed by Leadership Everyone.