UNION CITY, Ind. — Union City Indiana City Planner Monte Poling said the city is a very strong contender towards the Stellar Communities Designation.
In 2016 the city of Corydon, the county seat of Harrison County, was awarded a Stellar Communities designation, which prompted $30 million in public and private investments, including downtown enhancements, housing rehabilitation, renovation of historic buildings and outdoor projects. The Stellar Communities program recognizes smaller communities in Indiana with a strong focus on community projects and economic development. Harrison County Economic Development Corp. overhauled its small-business loan program in late 2015 and has since made nine loans totaling $435,000. HCEDC finalized the purchase of 50 acres at Lanesville Interchange, which will be the newest addition to the Lanesville Business Park.
Mayor Todd Barton announced that the city has met with state representatives as part of their commitment to the Indiana Stellar Communities Program. Quarterly progress meetings with representatives from the program’s partners are required and include OCRA (Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs), IHCDA (Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority), and INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation) are designed to provide a status report on the progress of a community Stellar projects.
In a community where it's often the same, familiar faces who speak up when a call for feedback is made, local officials were energized on July 27 when they saw a new face in the crowd.
And she spoke up.
GREENSBURG — A month after it was reported that Decatur County was among the 15 lowest when it comes to unemployment rates across all 92 counties in the Hoosier State, June numbers provided by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) now show that just nine counties are besting the southeastern Indiana community.
With an unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, the only counties ranked above Decatur County are Hamilton, Wells, Bartholomew, Daviess, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Adams, Dubois, and Elkhart. However, a mere 0.2 percent separates Decatur County from the lowest (Elkhart).
Only a month into her job, the new executive director of Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs—which oversees nearly $30 million in annual federal and state grants—is eager to “see all the potential and assets that rural Indiana has to offer.”
The agency she’s leading remains largely under the public’s radar, but its mission involves big lifts: supervising efforts across the state to improve small downtowns, clearing housing blight, preserving historic properties, helping coordinate community development efforts, and assisting communities with storm water, wastewater and drinking water issues.
“We’re here to help rural Indiana succeed,” Golden told IBJ.
But Golden’s sunny outlook doesn’t blind her to the challenges residents in rural Indiana face. Per-capital income in rural Indiana was $37,566 in 2015, compared to $43,187 in urban areas, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And average education attainment levels for rural residents are also lower.
IBJ spoke to Golden—who recently left her job in Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration to return to Indiana, where she once oversaw the state’s 529 college savings plan program—about opportunities in rural Indiana. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
CHURUBUSCO -- In Churubusco, Indiana, everything is within walking distance. The funeral home is just down the street from the bank and only a few minutes from the local antique store.
The town, with a population of about 1,800 people, is one of three state finalists for the Stellar Communities Designation Program. If chosen as the winner, the city will receive $6 million for planned community renovations.
"I really think we're on the verge of making something great," said Madalyn Sade-Bartl, Churubusco clerk-treasurer.
Sade-Bartl is also the project manager of Churubusco's Stellar Designation Program and was one of the people who spear-headed the application process, which included detailed renovation plans.
The program consists of 10 state agencies but was originated by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Indiana Department of Transportation. Each of these three departments gives $2 million to the winning city.
Crawfordsville - The mayor of Crawfordsville says the centerpiece project of the city's Stellar Communities designation has cleared a key hurdle. Todd Barton says the city has closed on a 24,000 square-foot building which will serve as the home of Fusion 54. The facility will promote collaboration and synergy among city and county agencies who will relocate there and will include 6,000 square-feet of coworking space, as well as the Wabash College Center for Innovation, Business and Entrepreneurship.
(INDIANAPOLIS) - Today, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch announced the six communities who are the Division 1 and Division 2 finalists for the 2017 Stellar Communities Designation Program (SCDP).
Established in 2011, the SCDP began as a collaboration between the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and Indiana Department of Transportation to support community planning and development initiatives by streamlining access to available funding sources and capacity building resources. Through the annual designation, Stellar Communities provides resources for transformative quality of place community improvements by utilizing previous planning efforts, leveraging existing assets, fostering regional investments, and stimulating continued growth for long-term relevance.
Churubusco has been named one of six finalists for the 2017 Stellar Communities Designation Program (SCDP), Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch announced Thursday.
Churubusco was among three finalists in the Division 2 category for communities with population of 5,999 or fewer people, a state news release said. Division 1 includes communities with population of 6,000 to 50,000 people.