Five communities have been selected as finalists for the 2015 Stellar Communities program. More than a dozen cities and towns applied for the designation. For the first time, finalists are separated into two divisions based on population size. April 7, 2015

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann announced today the finalists for the 2015 Stellar Communities designation program.

Established in 2011, Stellar Communities began as a collaboration between the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to support community planning and development initiatives. The program pools funding sources for a variety of projects identified by the communities as key elements in their comprehensive strategic development plans.

“Congratulations to each of the thirteen communities who took the time to craft and submit letters of interest for this year's Stellar Communities program. We have learned that the Stellar application process itself has brought some communities together for the first time to develop a common vision for the future of their city or town. Each year the selection of the finalist is becoming more difficult as the applications are including more creative plans with greater private sector investment. The 2015 finalists represent some extraordinary work and collaboration among the public and private sectors in each community,” noted Lt. Governor Ellspermann.

The Lt. Governor also explained that this year the Stellar Communities program has expanded the number of participating agencies in response to previous proposals and conversations with applicants. In 2015 the partnership has grown to include:

-Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

-Indiana Finance Authority (IFA)

-Indiana Office of Small Business & Entrepreneurship (OSBE)

-Indiana Office of Tourism and Development (IOTD)

-Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH)

-Serve Indiana

While OCRA, INDOT and IHCDA have made financial commitments to the program, these six agencies will provide a high level of technical skills that will support leveraging the existing assets already within the community. Their efforts will focus on building human capital, supporting existing businesses, creating a spirit of entrepreneurship, redeveloping commercial property and infrastructure, preserving natural and cultural amenities and improving the health and well-being of residents, which fosters the creation of a vital destination.

Also new for 2015 is the creation of two divisions based on public feedback received from smaller communities who felt they were at a competitive disadvantage. As a result, it was determined that creating two divisions based on population would be the best way to provide opportunities to communities of all size to compete for the designation. Division 1 is for communities with populations over 6,000 and Division 2 is for populations below 5,999.

2015 Stellar Communities Finalists:

Division 1:

-City of Crawfordsville

-City of Decatur

-City of Marion

Division 2:

-City of Dunkirk

-Town of North Liberty

Thirteen communities submitted letters of interest for the 2015 Stellar Communities program. After evaluating the plans, the top five communities were chosen as finalist communities which will receive planning grants to either create or build upon existing Strategic Investment Plans detailing projects, partnerships and proposed sources of funding. Site visits will then be conducted by staff, with representatives from the partnering agencies following a standard agenda and set of questions.

North Vernon and Greencastle were named pilot Stellar Communities in 2011. Princeton and Delphi were named in 2012 followed by Richmond and Bedford receiving the designation in 2013 along with Huntingburg and Wabash who were designated in 2014. To view the outcomes of the eight designated Stellar Communities who have been tracked by the Sagamore Institute, visit www.stellarindiana.org.

The Lieutenant Governor statutorily serves as the President of the Indiana Senate and chairs the Indiana Counter Terrorism and Security Council.

Source: The Office of Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann

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