Spencer/Owen County Action Plan (SOCAP)

Directed by Barry M Rubin, PhD


The Spencer/Owen County Action Plan (SOCAP) represents a collaboration between Spencer and Owen County economic developmentleadership and the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). The report represents four months of research and analysis on the part of SPEA graduate students to assess the economic and community development potential of the area. It provides actionable recommendations to help Spencer become a vibrant community for residents, visitors and businesses.

Spencer and Owen County are not without their challenges. A number of key demographic and economic indicators are on the decline:the population is decreasing and is expected to continue to do so by 14% from now through 2050; school attendance is decreasing, suggesting a decline in families with school aged children living in the area; the labor force shrank by 10.69% between 2008 and 2014; and the housing vacancy rate of 13.6% is well above the statewide average. In spite of these hurdles, Spencer and Owen County have a number of unique opportunities on the horizon.

The Indiana State Highway 46 resurfacing project and I-69 expansionwill funnel thousands of potential visitors through the town, bringing outside revenue to Spencer businesses. The shovel-ready parcels on Indiana State Highway 43 and the Spencer Planning Grant collaboration between the town council and Strategic Development Group, Inc., suggest great potential for business and housing redevelopment. Finally, the town has a growing network of economic development leaders and swelling support from the general public, further enhancing political will.

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