Indianapolis – Today, Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb announced the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) awarded six communities funding for economic development initiatives through their Downtown Enhancement Grant (DEG) program.
The Cities of Aurora, Columbia City, Seymour, Peru and the Towns of Veedersburg and Vevay will each receive grant funds ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 to improve the local quality of life, spur economic development and advance avenues for increasing private investment and employment in their downtown areas.
“Indiana’s rural cities and towns are every day developing vibrant main streets that welcome new businesses, visitors, and residents, and the Downtown Enhancement Grant program helps fuel those important efforts,” said Holcomb. “I commend each Spring recipient for their collaborations at the state and local levels. Together, we can ensure our hometowns are thriving as attractive places to live, work, and play.”
The OCRA program, which accepts applications in both the spring and fall, is designed to foster innovative approaches to activities that support and promote community based planning, broad partnerships and beautification. Qualifying projects are those which promote economic development in the downtown areas and will enhance the quality of life in the community.
DEG is a component of OCRA’s Indiana Main Street Program, which is founded on a Four Point Approach to downtown development: organization, design, promotion and economic vitality. Across the state, 110 Indiana Main Street communities work on these four main aspects of their downtowns in order to drive restoration and revitalization efforts.
Below is a summary of this year’s spring round DEG recipients:
City of Aurora: Main Street Aurora
Grant Amount: $10,000
Main Street Aurora will be administering a local façade renovation matching program. Local business owners will be eligible for a local match of up to $2,000 to stimulate façade improvements and further enhance the vibrancy of their downtown. By adding a local high school student to their Main Street Design Committee, and allowing the local middle school students to document the before and after photos, Aurora has found a solid way to incorporate youth into their program. This project is a partnership between Main Street Aurora, Rising Sun Regional Foundation, City of Aurora, Indiana Landmarks and St. Mary’s Catholic School.
City of Columbia City: Columbia City Main Street Association
Grant Amount: $9,341
After seeking public feedback during an open house, the community identified creating a ‘vibrant downtown’ as a top priority. A vacant lot will be transformed into a downtown park that is accessible by footpath and includes benches, picnic tables, patio areas, teakwood planter boxes and furniture. The project is a partnership between Columbia City Main Street Association, City of Columbia City, Columbia City Redevelopment Commission, Three Birds Casual, Community Foundation of Whitley County and Fahl Colors.
City of Peru: Rediscover Downtown Peru
Grant Amount: $5,000
This project will add wayfinding signage to the downtown area. The large banners will indicate welcome, dine, shop experience and rediscover points within the downtown. A second portion of the project will allow local nonprofit and community based organizations the opportunity to submit an application to purchase banners advertising their events, activities and attractions to be displayed throughout the community. This project is a collaboration between ReDiscover Downtown Peru, Inc, Miami County Chamber of Commerce, Miami County Bureau of Tourism and Peru Utilities.
City of Seymour: Seymour Main Street
Grant Amount: $5,659
Seymour Main Street will be adding historical markers, wayfinding banner signage, benches, trash receptacles and bike racks into their downtown area. This project is a collaboration between Seymour Main Street, Schneck Medical Center, City of Seymour and Jackson County Visitors Bureau.
Town of Veedersburg: Veedersburg Revitalization Association
Grant Amount: $10,000
The Veedersburg Pocket Park Project will transform an open space into a downtown pocket park designed by local high school engineering students. This park will include benches, picnic tables, landscaping, a bulletin board, a decorative pergola, complete with street type lighting to enhance safety and extend the usable time of the space. Project partners include Veedersburg Revitalization Association, Veedersburg Redevelopment Commission, SE Fountain Community Foundation, SE Fountain High School and Justcos Engineering.
Vevay: Vevay Main Street
Grant Amount: $10,000
This project is designed to give Vevay a pleasant appearance and help to attract business investment in the downtown district. To kick off the project, a community cleanup day will take place where business owners and citizens clean up storefronts, windows, sidewalks and streets of the Historical Business district. Following the cleanup, Vevay Main Street will acquire and place benches, self-watering pots, trash receptacles, flowers, flags and banners. Partners of this project include Vevay Main Street, Town of Vevay, Vevay Switzerland County Foundation and Switzerland County Tourism.