Decatur Details Stellar Communities Proposal

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One of six cities competing for millions of dollars through the state's Stellar Communities program is focusing on arts and innovation. The city of Decatur is proposing a four-year, $21 million plan that features downtown revitalization projects including a trail extension, downtown streetscape improvements and artist loft housing. July 28, 2014

News Release

DECATUR, Ind. (July 25, 2014) - The Decatur, Indiana community presented the City's Stellar Communities Strategic Community Investment Plan at a site visit with State of Indiana agency representatives in July. Decatur is one of six finalist communities competing to participate in Indiana's Stellar Communities Program.

The state program provides two awarded communities a year with the opportunity to align federal funding administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Indiana Department of Transportation, and Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority with local public and private investment in a targeted area of the community. This focused investment is expected to create an atmosphere where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, causing a ripple effect where additional growth and development occur.

"The people energy around the Stellar application has generated a groundswell of support for change and growth in our community. Change in progress was spurred by the success of our Sculpture Tour and has escalated to include nearly every sector in Decatur," said Mayor John Schultz. A video capturing the Artistically Inspired Innovation concept was produced and included Decatur native, David Anspaugh, film and TV director of "Hoosiers," "Rudy" and "Hill Street Blues."

Decatur's plan is rooted in an authentic community history of artistry and innovation. The concept is supported by the combination of people-based and place-based strategies. These strategies build on regional STEM education investment by integrating the Arts, or the "A" (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math = STEAM) into the conversation through arts advocacy, career skill and leadership development, and entrepreneurial support.

The Decatur community is also proposing to strategically invest Stellar Communities Program resources in both the built and natural environment of the downtown to offer opportunities for artistic interaction and engagement. Proposed projects include:

-modifying the Monroe Street Bridge over the St. Mary's River with lighting,

artistic enhancements and an enhanced pedestrian bridge element,

-an extension of the Rivergreenway Trail within the downtown including a trailhead vista along the western riverfront of the St. Mary’s River,

-a new roundabout with entryway enhancements at the Five Points Intersection,

-creation of a pedestrian corridor along Adams Street from 1st to 7th Streets,

-downtown perimeter sidewalk improvements along 7th Street and Monroe Street from 7th to the Monroe Street Bridge,

-fa?ade and streetscape improvements,

-owner occupied housing rehabilitation in the neighborhood west and north of downtown,

-rehabilitation of the historic Interurban Building on 2nd Street into artist lofts and commercial space,

-the development of a Creative Engagement Center with additional artist loft housing along the western riverfront adjacent to the Trailhead Vista.

According to Cameron Collier, member of the City Council and the Greater Decatur Planning Committee, "The Creative Engagement Center will develop citizens who think critically, act responsibly, and lead proactively." Collier shared that the goals would be accomplished through art advocacy, job skill and leadership development, and entrepreneurial support and training. The Creative Engagement concept has piqued the interest for potential programming partnership with several regional entities including: Arts Place - Portland, Ind.; Arts United - Fort Wayne, Ind.; Leadership Fort Wayne – Fort Wayne, Ind.; the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center - Fort Wayne, Ind.; and the University of Saint Francis - Fort Wayne, Ind.

Decatur's plan is proposing $21 million in state and local match investment through the Stellar Communities program to be completed over a four year period. Together with planned complementary projects, the total investment into the City of Decatur's downtown tops $39 Million dollars. Stellar Program Awards will be announced in August.

RESOURCES:

Video: "Decatur, Indiana... Artistically Inspired Innovation," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0P0pWBapMg

Indiana's Stellar Communities Program: at www.stellarindiana.org.

Source: The City of Decatur