Collaboration focusing on ‘DePauw-Greencastle Corridor’
The city of Greencastle and DePauw University are using a $250,000 planning grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.’s College and Community Collaboration Initiative to create a plan to revitalize a corridor between the university and the city’s downtown.
The effort, the partners said Wednesday, will build on the 2011 Stellar Communities designation that Greencastle received, with a focus on four key areas: housing, education, recreation opportunities and aesthetics.
“We all believe that these are the biggest needs that we all have to recruit people to live and learn within Greencastle,” said Andrea Young, vice president of finance and administration at DePauw.
Young, who moved to Greencastle last summer, told Inside INdiana Business that housing is a primary focus of the collaboration.
“We have recent housing studies as well as ongoing housing analysis, and there’s really a dramatic shortage of housing,” Young said. “I bought the singular house in Greencastle with more than one bathroom this summer. And so there’s really a severe housing shortage, and that impacts our ability to recruit employees. It impacts local businesses, and it impacts the town economy for obvious reasons.”
Greencastle was one of the two inaugural recipients of the Stellar Communities designation in 2011, along with North Vernon. The designation provided $15 million in funding that allowed the city to revitalize the courthouse square and downtown, as well as support new business growth and community initiatives.
Dionne Jackson, vice president of institutional equity at DePauw, said the new collaboration will further those efforts.
“One of the things that the mayor and others have mentioned is that the housing initiative is a piece of that [Stellar] initiative that they did not get to, and it’s one that they really want us to be able to think through and address,” Jackson said.
Young said the other areas of focus stem from DePauw’s “Bold & Gold 2027” strategic plan unveiled in March 2022.
“[There’s] the need to have strong educational offerings, strong community offerings, including recreations,” said Young. “And then there’s, I think, a shared sense that aesthetically, there’s real value in thinking about how Greencastle looks, and this plays on long history of exciting mural projects and art projects within the community that we think we can actually lift up through the Lilly grant proposal.”
Young added the history with the Stellar designation has provided a template for how the partners can accomplish their goals.
“We have the housing aspect that we want to address,” she said. “We also now have other sites in the we’re calling the DePauw-Greencastle Corridor, that sort of the region between the two locations that we we’ve already identified. And we already know what the shared value would be. And so we’ve we’ve crossed many of those hurdles.”
Jackson said the partners have until late winter to work on the plan. A master planning process will be implemented that will involve hiring a team of architects, urban planners and financial advisors to help identify the sites that have the biggest potential to achieve the goals of the collaboration.
Young said once that vision is set, the partners will apply for phase 2 funding from the endowment’s College and Community Collaboration Initiative. That funding, which could be up to $25 million, would represent 30% of the effort, and the partners would need to find the capital to make up the remaining 70%.
“A lot of the legwork on the grant will be done in the evaluation process in the next four to five months,” said Young.