The mayor of Vincennes and town manager of Culver both say there’s more work to be done in the pursuit of landing a Stellar Communities designation from the state. The Knox County and Marshall County communities are among six finalists for the program, which involves access to state funding, support and other resources to boost quality-of-place efforts in cities and towns that have fewer than 50,000 residents. The cities of Greensburg, Madison and Union City and the town of Churubusco join Vincennes and Culver as this year’s finalists. Each faces an upcoming site visit from state officials before two winners are selected later this year.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum said his city’s pitch focuses on downtown development and the city may be "adding to and tweaking" their approach before state leaders show up. He says the community came together to discuss and refine the focus of the initial proposal to the state. Yochum says the highlights of the city’s plans involve continued expansion of a River Walk project and potential housing that would take place of an old grain elevator. He says he has a meeting set tomorrow to make sure "we’re on top of it and heading in the right direction."

Culver Town Manager Jonathan Leist tells Inside INdiana Business the statewide attention for being a finalist has been big. "One of the most exciting things that’s not related to any funding or anything you get is just that — name recognition, getting the name of your town out there — you know, we’ve got lots of phone calls, emails and requests just for making finalist," he said. "We’ve really worked hard for a community our size to try and get as much input on the projects as we could, working with our major employers and also just any interested groups — volunteer groups, civic groups, that kind of thing in the community — basically since we started to do it last year, we’ve had this Stellar Communities committee that’s been meeting regularly." Culver was a finalist last year and was beaten by Rushville as the Division II selection. Leist says in this year’s pitch, Culver added a movie theater renovation project and he says the planning grant funding that comes with being a finalist will help further develop plans that have been ongoing since last year’s process.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum said his city’s pitch focuses on downtown development and the city may be “adding to and tweaking” their approach before state leaders show up.

Culver Town Manager Jonathan Leist tells Inside INdiana Business the statewide attention for being a finalist has been big.

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