INDIANAPOLIS - Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch has unveiled the two winners of the 2018 Stellar Community designation. The regions selected for the designation will receive state funding to implement the revitalization plans submitted for their communities.

This is the first year the designation has been awarded on a regional basis. This year's designees include the Health and Heritage region, which is comprised of Greenfield, Fortville and Hancock County, and the New Allen Alliance, which is made up of Grabill, Leo-Cedarville, Monroeville, New Haven, Woodburn and Allen County.

Each region will receive $4.5 million from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, $2 million from the Indiana Department of Transportation, and potentially up to an additional $2 million from other agencies depending on the qualifications of their respective projects.

"This first year under the regional design was highly competitive. However, each region benefits from this process regardless of the designation through the completion of the regional development plan," said Jodi Golden, executive director of OCRA. "These plans are the representation of partnerships and collaborations strengthened through core values, shared vision and proactive planning."

Crouch's office says the Health and Heritage region will use the funding to focus on substance abuse treatment, expanding trails, and revitalizing their downtowns, among other initiatives. The New Allen Alliance plans to focus on increasing economic growth while also developing the quality of place in the region.

OCRA plans to release details on the 2019 Stellar Communities Program in early January.