Jasper, Ind. (WEHT) — The results are in! Jasper has been crowned the strongest town in America.
It now joins the list of other Strongest Town winners from previous years which include Pensacola, Florida and Traverse City, Michigan.
“To actually win it- it says a lot about the community,” said Dean Vonderheide, the Mayor of Jasper.
There was some close calls along the way, but Jasper ended in victory by collecting 51.3% of all the votes. Norwood, Ohio finished at 48.7%.
Jasper also got votes from their sister city, Pfaffenweiler, Germany.
“I don’t know how many votes we got from Pfaffenweiler, but I know we probably got a few,” Vonderheide said.
“I have some businesses friends all the way in New Zealand- and I know they voted for Jasper. They had been to Jasper years ago and they remembered it. So they were out voting,” said Mark Nowotarski, the resident who submitted the application.
The contest started about a year ago when Nowotarski learned about the Strongest Towns Contest during a meeting.
After reading the guidelines, Nowotarski knew it was a good match.
“After reading through it, I ended up going I have to nominate Jasper. Jasper fits in perfectly,” he said.
Town leaders say Jasper stood out in a variety of ways, ranging from its infrastructure to its character.
“Our downtown business all working together for the same goal. And I really think that showed as a difference,” said Maureen Braun, the owner of Finishing Touches.
Maureen is also the wife of Senator Mike Braun. Her store has been on the downtown square for over 40 years. She says this is a badge of honor.
“It’s so exciting, and a honor. But it is also one of those things that as a community, we have been working hard to entice tourism and visitors to come,” she said.
There is no monetary award for winning, but Jasper does get bragging rights and publicity.
Strongest Towns president Charles Marohn is expected to come to Jasper in the coming months to present the award in-person.
To celebrate, everyone is invited to Jasper’s Downtown Chowdown event on Wednesday, April 13th at 6 pm.