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home : most recent : putnam January 16, 2018


3/13/2011 1:44:00 PM
Greencastle could receive up to $19 million from Stellar Communities program

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The Greencastle community will have about 19 million reasons to smile over the next three years, but Thursday afternoon was a time for real celebration.

City, state and DePauw University officials came together at the DPU Green Center for the Performing Arts to share in the good news of Greencastle's selection as one of two Stellar Communities in a pilot program initiated by Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman.

Designed to help communities execute their strategic plans, the Stellar Community program also tabbed the Jennings County city of North Vernon for its inaugural class. Greencastle and North Vernon will share more than $30 million over the next three years. Funding distribution has not yet been finalized but Greencastle could receive up to $19 million of the total.

Getting a standing ovation from the standing-room-only crowd, Skillman called it a "wow moment" and a "stellar welcome from a stellar community."

"We see this as a first step toward moving our state forward one community at a time," Skillman said, adding the competition was intense for the first-ever collaborative grants from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) and the State Revolving Fund.

Initially 42 communities applied for the pilot program but once the finalists were whittled to 12, the two Stellar Community selections easily rose to the top.

Lt. Gov. Skillman summed up Greencastle's selection succinctly. "In one word -- focus," she said after the formal presentation ended. "They were so extremely focused and detailed in their plan."

Greencastle is expected to receive approximately $6 million in grants from INDOT, $1.5 million in grants from OCRA and more than $11 million in loans, tax credits or grants from IHCDA.

The exact dispersal will come after Greencastle community officials sit down with the state partners involved in the program. "That will come very soon," Skillman said. "That's the next step."

Greencastle's application proposed several quality of life improvements designed to capitalize on the city's cultural and intellectual assets and position Greencastle as a regional center for economic development.

Proposed plans include:

* Revitalizing the courthouse square and central business district with streetscape improvements, facade renovations and signage.

* Relocating the DePauw University bookstore to the central business district.

* Addressing public parking solutions in the downtown area.

* Adding new housing options, including lofts in the commercial district and new construction in the South Court (south of the courthouse square) neighborhood.

* Constructing a community health center and other wellness initiatives such as a walking and fitness trail.

* Creating a technology hub and wi-fi bubble in the commercial district.

* Using these projects to leverage future private investment, including housing, retail, student housing, church expansion and more.

* Partnering with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to provide concerts in Greencastle, a youth orchestra program and master music classes.

Lt. Gov. Skillman summed up Greencastle's selection succinctly. "In one word -- focus," she said after the formal presentation ended. "They were so extremely focused and detailed in their plan."

Greencastle is expected to receive approximately $6 million in grants from INDOT, $1.5 million in grants from OCRA and more than $11 million in loans, tax credits or grants from IHCDA.

The exact dispersal will come after Greencastle community officials sit down with the state partners involved in the program. "That will come very soon," Skillman said. "That's the next step."

Greencastle's application proposed several quality of life improvements designed to capitalize on the city's cultural and intellectual assets and position Greencastle as a regional center for economic development.

Proposed plans include:

* Revitalizing the courthouse square and central business district with streetscape improvements, facade renovations and signage.

* Relocating the DePauw University bookstore to the central business district.

* Addressing public parking solutions in the downtown area.

* Adding new housing options, including lofts in the commercial district and new construction in the South Court (south of the courthouse square) neighborhood.

* Constructing a community health center and other wellness initiatives such as a walking and fitness trail.

* Creating a technology hub and wi-fi bubble in the commercial district.

* Using these projects to leverage future private investment, including housing, retail, student housing, church expansion and more.

* Partnering with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to provide concerts in Greencastle, a youth orchestra program and master music classes.

Related Stories:
• North Vernon goes Stellar
• Batesville finished fourth in Stellar Communities grant competition, mayor says
• Greencastle, North Vernon named state's first 'Stellar Communities'
• Shelbyville last of 12 to make pitch for Stellar Communities grant
• Portland makes pitch for $4.68 million Stellar Communities grant

2018 Greencastle Banner-Graphic






Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR


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