Historical Background & Critical Points Timeline
Crawfordsville: Primed for Stellar Transformation
Crawfordsville has experienced a 20.3% increase in population between 1980 and 2014, the most recent year a population estimate was conducted. This reflects both a statewide and countywide growth in population. Indiana grew 19.1% during the same period and Montgomery County grew by 7.5%. Currently, Crawfordsville has a larger percentage of residents identifying as Black than Montgomery County (2.2 vs 1.5%), but less than the state (9.1%). Although the city is larger than ever, it has recovered from a slump beginning in the 1960s, when the population was 14,231 persons. Between the 1970 and 2000 censuses, the population never exceeded past the 14,000 mark.
Since 1980, Crawfordsville has experienced a significant increase of 220% in persons living below poverty. Currently, 24.7% of the population is living in poverty. Montgomery County has a poverty level of 15.1%, which is similar to the state’s poverty level of 15.5%. Social services have increased in the area with organizations such as the Community Action Program of West Central Indiana which provides home weatherization, Head Start preschool, and energy assistance to combat poverty.
Crawfordsville’s median household income has decreased over the past thirty years by 20.4%. The 2014 American Community Survey estimates suggest that Crawfordsville’s median household income is $33,085, which is significantly less than Montgomery County ($46,286) and the state ($48,737).
Crawfordsville: 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, 2008-2012 American Community Survey Table S1702. U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts, 2015. 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 S1701 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.
Neighborhood Stability and Quality of Life
Since the 1980s, Crawfordsville has struggled with an aging housing and building stock. Of the current 6,939 units, only about 8.9% were built in the 21st century. Nearly a third of all homes were built in 1939 or earlier, an observation noted in the numerous sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. City leaders highlight this housing issue in their Stellar project by wanting to rehabilitate thirty homes in the Historic Whitlock Neighborhood. Even further, the city wishes to improve the neighborhood as it is a gateway to the downtown district and there is a desire to provide a “welcoming presence” through the project.
Community Economic Development
Major employers in the city include RR Donnelly, Nucor Steel, Penguin Random House, Acuity Lighting, and Raybestos Powertrain. The city’s manufacturing organizations consistently expand and retract due to market demands, affecting workforce stability. Recognizing this, the city created the 215 acre, Crawfordsville Commerce Park to establish a first class development for light industry. Wabash College still serves as a vital anchor to the city’s economy and is involved in the Crawfordsville Main Street organization to promote, design, restructure, and organize the city’s downtown. The area includes restaurants, galleries, theaters, and other attractions that drive tourism.
After being designated a Stellar Community in August, the city released their Downtown Revitalization Plan, a block-by-block outline of improvements to Crawfordsville historic center. The city is committed to going beyond the three-year Stellar time frame and going forward with projects that will bring prosperity to Crawfordsville. These projects include the Pike Street Pocket Park, Fusion 54, rehabilitating historic structures, and implementing parts of the original Bike and Pedestrian Plan along corridors such as Market and Franklin Streets as well as connecting the downtown area with the existing Sugar Creek Trail.