Historical Background & Critical Points Timeline
Greencastle: The Next Great College Town
Since 1980, Greencastle has experienced constant population growth. Between 1980 and 2015 the overall city’s population increased by slightly more than 23%. This is comparable to overall county and state population trends, which show population increases as well. For instance, Putnam County experienced significant population growth of 28.9%, while the state’s population increased by approximately 21%. Furthermore, 2015 population estimates show Greencastle’s has 10,401 residents, which is less than a 1% increase from 2010 (10,326) estimates. Historically, Greencastle has remained a predominantly White community (97.7% in 1980 and 92.4% in 2014). Recent data (2014) indicate of the city’s total population, 2.5% were categorized as African-American, 5.1% as Other Races.
Greencastle has experienced an increase in the percentage of persons living in poverty over the past thirty years. Since 1980, the percentage of persons living below the poverty rate has increased from 8.3% to 13.4%. This is a 61.4% increase*. In comparison Putnam County’s poverty rate has increased by 4.4%, while the state’s poverty rate increased by 5.8%*.
*Data Correction: The erratum in percentage of individuals below poverty: Corrected and republished May 23, 2014.
Greencastle’s median household income has increased over the past three decades (+7.5%). Most recent data estimates demonstrate Greencastle’s median household income is $41,365. This is $8,549 less than the median household income of Putnam County ($49,914) and $7,372 less than the median household income of the overall state (Indiana $48,737).
Greencastle: Socioeconomic Characteristics of Decline
Source: 1970 Census of Population, PC(1)-C1 "General Social and Economic Characteristics", table 182. 1980 Census of Population, PC80-1-C1 "General Social and Economic Characteristics", table 245.U.S. Census Bureau, Census 1980 Summary Files 1 and 3. U.S. Census Bureau, 2010-2014 American Community Survey Table DP03. U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts, 2016. Data derived from Population Estimates, American Community Survey, Census of Population and Housing, State and County Housing Unit Estimates, County Business Patterns, Nonemployer Statistics, Economic Census, Survey of Business Owners, Building Permits. STATS Indiana, using data from Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau. Minnesota Population Center. National Historical Geographic Information System: Version 2.0. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota 2011.
a. Poverty figures for 2014 were the most recent data estimations from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 2010-2014 Table DP03 estimations provided for the specific geographic area.
b. The Median Household dollar amounts reported for 1980 are values that have been converted to constant 2014 dollars according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator, available at www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm.
Greencastle has dealt with issues related to housing and infrastructure throughout the last 30 years. Greencastle has many older and historic homes. Of the current 3,714 housing units, the majority were built prior to 1970. Of those housing units, approximately 23% were constructed before 1939. Due to age of its housing stock, Greencastle must address issues of maintenance and repair of aging systems, as well as the necessity to adapt structures to the needs of modern life. Since the homes are mature they require maintenance costs that are not always feasible for homeowners with limited income streams.
Community Economic Development
Greencastle has been relatively stable in terms of income and population (10,401) over the last 30 years, however like other older cities and towns, the city suffered from decline in its downtown business district over the past three decades. This decline created challenges of business retention and attraction. Greencastle officials and residents also expressed concerns about increasing population mobility and brain drain of its younger populations. In addition, with a university located minutes from its downtown corridor, city stakeholders needed to find ways to link the two and build upon the economic and social benefits. City administration made strides on several fronts to address these challenges and make the city attractive for new and existing employers, families, and young professionals; however it needed the funding to implement them.
“I think honestly we were in pretty good shape compared to a lot of communities. Our businesses are fairly stable. In fact we didn’t really lose much of anything in the recession of 2008. But we had this long laundry list of things we needed to do to make our community better since who knows when. I saw a formal one [plan] from the 1980s and much of the things that were on the list then are on the list now. So they just weren’t being done. So we have a nice community but we definitely have lots of room for improvement.”
“We had been talking to a number of commercial developers about ways we may be involved in getting some capital and some vibrancy into the downtown area here in Greencastle. ….The vision was there, the challenge was funding.”