PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch hosted the 4th round of ‘Thriving Rural Communities’ roundtables at Turkey Run State Park on Tuesday.

Crouch was joined by Parke and Montgomery County officials to discuss ways that the state and rural communities can work together to give these areas a boost.

Crouch spoke highly of rural communities such as Parke and Montgomery County.

“Rural Indiana is our next great economic frontier,” Crouch said.

In a study, Parke County, alongside several others, were named as being poised for growth.

Discussions regarding improving quality of life, regionalism and housing were all at the forefront of the forum. Tackling some of these issues could be a challenge, but Crouch said that the state is ready to partner with rural communities.

“They have challenges just like the more urban areas, but they’re somewhat distinct and unique,” Crouch explained. “It was good to hear about those to be able to figure out and learn how we can partner with them better.”

Parke County Councilman John Pratt was one of several county officials who attended the forum on Tuesday. Pratt said he’s glad to be able to work with the state on ways to improve the county.

“It’s important to let her know what is going on here in Parke County for us to try and better our community and make this a greater place to live than it already is,” Pratt said.

One issue that Pratt said that Parke County is facing is its infrastructure, its roads specifically.

“The infrastructure is always going to be a challenge for us,” Pratt explained. “Our roads, we have 50% gravel and 50% blacktop.”

Regionalism was also a topic of discussion. Officials from Parke and Montgomery were in attendance, and the idea of regionalism was bounced around throughout the meeting.

Parke County has a population of about 17,000 people, and doesn’t have the density to do of the projects that it may need. Pratt said that having supportive neighbors will help stretch the dollars that they have.

“By partnering possibly with Vigo County or possibly Montgomery County would really help stretch those dollars,” Pratt said.