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.
“We have seen such transformation throughout the previous cities and towns who have received the Stellar Communities Designation and recognize the hard work, collaboration, and dedication it takes from the local team to work alongside our state agencies committed to making a true impact throughout smaller communities across Indiana,” said Lt. Governor Crouch. “I congratulate this year’s six finalists for taking the fundamental first steps or in some cases, after reevaluating previous efforts, heeding advice to identify quality of place projects in line with their local visions for the future. We look forward to receiving the strategic investment plans from each of the finalist communities to see what state and local collaborations might be possible to take our hometowns to the next level.”
Finalist communities are separated into a division based on their population:
- Division 1: 6,000 – 50,000
- Division 2: 5,999 & below
After evaluating the letters of interest, the top six communities were chosen as finalists.
2017 Stellar Communities Designation Program Finalists:
- City of Greensburg (Decatur)
- City of Madison (Jefferson)
- City of Vincennes (Knox)
- Town of Churubusco (Whitley)
- Town of Culver (Marshall)
- City of Union City (Randolph)
As finalist communities, each will receive a planning grant to either create or build upon existing local Strategic Investment Plans, detailing projects, partnerships, and proposed sources of funding. Site visits will then be conducted by the Stellar Team which is comprised of representatives from the partnering agencies who follow a standard agenda and set of questions. Later this summer, one community from each division will be named a 2017 Stellar Communities Designee.
Since its inception, the SCDP partnership has grown to include:
- Indiana Arts Commission (IAC)
- Indiana Bond Bank
- Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
- Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT)
- Indiana Finance Authority (IFA)
- Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA)*
- Indiana Office of Tourism and Development (IOTD)*
- Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity (DNPA)
- Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA)*
- Serve Indiana
While OCRA, INDOT and IHCDA have made financial commitments to the program, all ten agencies will provide a high level of technical skills that will support leveraging the existing assets already within the community. Their efforts will focus on building human capital, supporting existing businesses, creating a spirit of entrepreneurship, redeveloping commercial property and infrastructure, preserving natural and cultural amenities, and improving the health and well-being of residents, which fosters the creation of a vital destination.
Previous Stellar Communities Designees include:
- 2011 – Greencastle & North Vernon
- 2012 – Delphi & Princeton
- 2013 – Bedford & Richmond
- 2014 – Huntingburg & Wabash
- 2015: D1 – Crawfordsville & D2 – North Liberty
- 2016: D1 – Corydon & D2 – Rushville
Funding for the Stellar Communities Designation Program comes from multiple existing federal and state programs. For more information on past designees, timelines, and contact information, please visit www.ocra.in.gov/Stellar.
The Sagamore Institute has been engaged to provide an ongoing report on the lessons learned and successes of this program. Their reports can be found at www.stellarindiana.org.
*Agencies under the Lt Governor’s Family of Business