By Maria Henriquez, BUPD, 2024

As I was reaching the end of my third year as a planning student, I started to think about where I wanted to complete my summer internship. It was important to me that I gained a better understanding of community development and working for the public. I was thrilled to be hired by the City of Shelbyville Planning and Building Department. Working under Alumni Adam Rude, director of planning; and Allan Henderson, deputy planner; I was able to gain a better understanding of urban planning in the public sector.

Shelbyville is located southeast of Indianapolis in Shelby County. It is well known as the home of Horseshoe Casino, formally known as Indiana Grand Casino. During my summer there, I had the opportunity to attend Plan Commission, Board of Zoning & Appeals and Board of Works meetings. I was able to see the processes of each meeting and to meet the individuals who make up the boards and make the decisions that affect the community. In preparation for these meetings, I worked with both Adam and Allan to review plans that were submitted to the planning department.

Making sure these submissions were in line with Shelbyville ordinances to avoid any complications was an important job I was excited to be part of. We also answered any questions the developers had about their proposals before sending them to their respective meetings. Apart from city meetings, I was also able to sit down with the planning department in meetings with a nonprofit affordable housing organization that wants to work with the city. It was interesting to see all the work that goes on before a public presentation is made.

As I returned to Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning to finish my final year, I transitioned over to working remote for Shelbyville. Currently I am working on a new project,  developing and designing a booklet for the city to show which parcels are unused now and what utilities are located on those parcels. I created icons for the department to use to depict what land uses are expect on each of these lots.

Working for the City of Shelbyville continues to help me grow as a future urban planner and put my skills into practice to help the community. I am so thankful I was able to have this opportunity!

Did you know? The City of Shelbyville has partnered with the Department of Urban Planning for years, offering summer internships and full-time employment opportunities to some of the best students. Previous interns included Bryant Niehoff, Adam Rude, Daniel Grinspan, Hannah Jones, Michael Terronez, and Logan Lane.