(CBS) — It’s crunch time for DeKalb, which is in the running to be named best community in the United States. 400 cities and towns applied for a top prize of $3 million and the list has been narrowed down to 50, reports WBBM’s Veronica Carter.

City leaders in each of them have four months to detail how they will improve their economic climate.

Matt Duffy from the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce says they’re taking input from the public, and even if they don’t win, they’ll know what improvements can be made in the city.

“Everybody has a lot of ideas and having these conversations allows people around the table to kind of say, ‘You know it would be nice if we had this,’” Duffy said.

In Northwest Indiana, Valparaiso is also vying for the grand prize. John Puskar is on the team putting together what they hope is the winning plan, focusing on creating an arts district downtown.

Prize money for the contest totals $10 million. First place gets $3 million, second place $2 million and $1 million for third, with smaller amounts given out along the way.

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