Mayor's Announcement: Heart of Jasper and ROJAC Merger

Generational stewardship was the focus of the festive reception held in the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center Atrium on Thursday evening. The event served as a passing of the torch between two organizations dedicated to the development and beautification of downtown Jasper. 

For more than twenty years, ROJAC, the Redevelop Old Jasper Action Coalition, has spurred the revitalization of the Riverwalk and Jasper’s Downtown District. Led by Dave Buehler and other long-serving board members, and supported by generous donations from locals, ROJAC set in motion a locomotive of improvements that has made Jasper a destination city throughout the region. Now, that storied organization will merge with the Heart of Jasper to continue their shared legacy. Heart of Jasper makes a perfect partner for ROJAC, as it is already involved in numerous projects to aid downtown merchants and strengthen the economic heartbeat of the city. Buehler received a standing ovation for his remarks and Mayor Dean Vonderheide showered praise on the merger, saying that partnerships like this ensure that we have “a great future ahead of us.” 

Heart of Jasper already has plans to upcycle a little-used parking lot at 4 th and Main into a community courtyard and eventually an activity trail near the Riverwalk. Additionally, this partnership will help them continue their work in beautifying, maintaining, and adding new life to the 38 blocks that make up Downtown Jasper. Following the announcement, reception guests boarded the Spirit of Jasper for a quick, celebratory train ride in honor of the new partnership. The multigenerational gathering showed not only what “Jasperites” can do when they put their minds to it, but perhaps more importantly that the strength of a city is shown not only in what we do, but how we pass the baton. 

To find out more about these and other updates, visit or JasperGov-Indiana on Facebook. The Heart of Jasper website is 

 For WITZ, this is Drew Hasselbring.