Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb announces Rushville and Corydon as the 2016 Designees of the Stellar Communities Designation Program (SCDP).
Launched in 2011, the Stellar Communities Designation Program is a multi-agency partnership designed to recognize Indiana’s smaller communities that have identified comprehensive community and economic development projects and activities as well as next steps and key partnerships. In 2015, the designations were divided into two divisions based on population size. Division I are communities of a population of 6,000 or more and Division II are smaller cities and towns with populations of fewer than 6,000.
“I congratulate and commend those who worked tirelessly during the Stellar Communities selection process on behalf of Rushville,” State Rep. Tom Saunders said. “The efforts of Mayor Pavey and his team paid off in a big way and the positive impact this will have on the city and Rush County will be felt for years to come.”
In April, six finalist communities were announced for the 2016 program year:
Division I Finalists: Rushville, Shelbyville, and Warsaw
Division II Finalists: Corydon, Culver, and Union City
Between April and July, Lt. Governor Holcomb and representatives from the SCDP state team visited all six finalist communities where they heard highlights from each local team as well as toured project locations from their local Strategic Investment Plans (SIP).
“I was filled with such pride while visiting the six finalist communities this summer, seeing firsthand the passion and dedication each team is putting towards bettering their community through economic development opportunities,” said Lt. Governor Holcomb. “I look forward to celebrating the work of the state and local teams at the State Fair next week. With or without the stellar designation, all six communities are on their way to achieving transformative outcomes that will better their local and regional areas.”
Division I Designee: City of Rushville-
Rushville’s SIP includes several revitalization and rehabilitation projects downtown and in the historic district which will allow for commercial and office space development as well as housing development in preexisting neighborhoods and historic buildings. The proposal also includes outdoor improvements like creating a trailhead and bike hub and building the Riverside Park Gateway Plaza.
Division II Designee: Town of Corydon-
Corydon centers their SIP on renovating, improving, enhancing and rehabilitating existing aspects of their town. Among the proposed projects are renovating three historic buildings, enhancing the downtown area to improve connectivity and walkability by providing well-lit walkways and housing rehabilitation. Several projects are devoted to the outdoors from improving Keller Park to creating an Indian Creek Trail Connection meant to link green space at Keller Park while also preserving natural corridors.
Division I Finalists: City of Warsaw and City of Shelbyville
Warsaw’s SIP focuses on neighborhood beautification as well as establishing parks and a cycle track, made to resemble Indianapolis’ Cultural Trail. Other aspects of Warsaw’s proposal include building a roundabout for increased safety and a housing development which will offer diversified options to low-to-moderate income families, senior residents and persons with special needs.
Shelbyville’s SIP revolves around developing housing and improving the quality of the areas where residents live. The downtown housing project would strive to bring new citizens into the city while the Brownstone Townhomes project would help Shelbyville reach their established residential market demand for senior living and market rate housing.
Ten communities submitted letters of interest (LOIs) for the 2016 Stellar Communities Designation Program. Of those ten, six communities were chosen as finalists, received planning grants and were required to submit local Strategic Investment Plans. The SIPs detail the projects, partnerships and proposed sources of funding based on feedback and input from the local community. The next step was the site visits which were conducted by the state stellar team, comprised of staff representing the partnering agencies.
On Aug. 18, a Stellarbration hosted by Lt. Governor Holcomb will be held at the Indiana State Fair to celebrate the 2016 Designees. The event will also be a look back on the successes of the first 5 years of the designation program as well as presentations from Rushville and Corydon.
The Lt. Governor and state stellar team members will also travel to Rushville and Corydon later this fall to participate in local Stellarbrations with the local community members.
“I am extremely grateful for the efforts of our Stellar Team and the amazing support from our community,” Mayor Mike Pavey said. “We believe Stellar will be the most transformative period in our city’s history. Our team looks forward to working closely with state agencies and community members to build upon the success that we have experienced through this process.”
2016 is the second year of the expansion of state agency partners. Prior to 2015 the SCDP partnership included:
Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT)
Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA)
Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA)
State agency partners now include:
Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Indiana Finance Authority (IFA)
Indiana Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (OSBE)/Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC)
Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD)
Indiana State Department of Health – Division of Nutrition & Physical Activity (ISDH)
New to the Stellar team in 2016 are the Indiana Arts Commission and the Indiana Bond Bank.
Funding for the SCDP comes from multiple existing federal programs. Both communities have proposed projects involving public and private dollars; although they have been designated as a Stellar Community, the projects are proposals and no specific funds are guaranteed. Both communities will meet with representatives from the state stellar team in the coming weeks to discuss details of the proposed projects including feasibility, available funding, timeframes and partner participation.
The finalist communities will receive follow up from the state stellar team to discuss details about their submitted SIPs and provide feedback on the SCDP process.
Eligible applicants must be a Local Unit of Government which includes a city or an incorporated town not entitled to direct Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
More information about the Stellar Communities Designation Program is available at http://in.gov/ocra/stellar.htm.