INDIANAPOLIS - More than two dozen Hoosier cities and towns are participating in the inaugural, statewide Downtown Development Week. The initiative, spearheaded by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, involves sponsored events, activities and promotions that spotlight downtown. 

OCRA Executive Director Jodi Golden says downtowns serve a crucial purpose in a community's ecosystem. "Our downtowns across the state -- especially in our rural areas -- are really our gathering places, they're our economic centers. They're really the places that create that sense of place," she said. "This week wants to engage the community in celebrating those downtowns, celebrating the history of their community and why it's important and why they love to live there."

OCRA is offering communities support in promoting their downtown-focused events and currently lists initiatives stretching from Rockport and Newburgh to Madison and Rising Sun to Francesville and Highland to Kendallville and Woodburn. Golden says many of the state's 133 communities with Main Street organizations are participating. Indiana, she says, has more Main Street communities than any other state. You can connect to more about the Downtown Development Week program by clicking here.