During the past 36 months, the Indiana Lieutenant Governor’s Office has provided direct support to smaller rural cities and towns to help build community capacity and make the most of local, state, and federal resources. The Indiana Stellar Communities Program is unique in its approach to comprehensive community development in that it pulls multiple state resources together to help small communities develop strategic community investment plans, foster partnerships, and implement comprehensive solutions to address local challenges involving community economic development, housing, transportation, and overall quality of life.
This is the first in a series of reports on the progress, issues, and impacts of the Indiana Stellar Communities Program (ISCP). It focuses specifically on describing program goals, planning, and implementation in the first four communities designated as “Stellar” between 2011 and 2013. In doing so it briefly highlights program creation, process, and findings (e.g., successes, challenges, and lessons learned) (to date), while providing an assessment of current economic and social impacts of the program. This report concludes that the ISCP program has overall produced positive community impacts. These are illustrated in the overall program goals, program implementation, social capital networks, and benefits.
Future reports will continue this assessment.