Category Archives: Latest News

2018 Stellar Designees Announced

Lt. Governor Crouch announces 2018 Stellar designees
STATEHOUSE (Dec. 11, 2018) – Today, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch announced the two regions who are designated a 2018 Stellar Community, the Health and Heritage region and the New Allen Alliance.
“Stellar applicants were given a unique task this year, and that was to partner with their neighboring communities to come up with a plan that can benefit a larger range of Hoosiers,” Crouch said. “Through this collaboration, brilliant ideas came forth and I cannot wait to see their plans come to life.”
Greenfield, Fortville and Hancock County make up the Health and Heritage region and are going to put a plan into motion that improves health, heritage and heart in their communities. A focus on substance abuse treatment, expanding trails and revitalizing their downtowns are just a few of the facets of their plan to help create the front porch of Eastern Indiana.
Grabill, Leo-Cedarville, Monroeville, New Haven, Woodburn and Allen County are the region named the New Allen Alliance. The plan they will implement through Stellar funding will focus on increasing economic growth while also developing the quality of place in their area.
Crouch said that each designated region will receive $4.5 million from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural affairs, and will receive additional set amounts from the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.
“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.”
Along with the regional aspect being new to the Stellar program, the finalists met with Ball State University’s Indiana Communities Institute to review data that aligned their projects and furthered their plans. Golden said that Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development will assist the two designees with long-term sustainability efforts and implementing their projects.
The Stellar program designation is awarded annually and provides resources for transformative quality of place community improvements by using previous planning efforts, leveraging existing assets, fostering regional investments and stimulating continued growth. Visit in.gov/ocra/stellar for more information, including details about the 2019 Stellar Communities Program, which will be released on Jan. 7, 2019.

INDOT offers scholarships, employment to future engineers

The Indiana Department of Transportation is offering a number of scholarships and paid positions to civil engineering students for the 2019-2020 school year.

The scholarship program offers $3,125 per semester or $2,083 per trimester for up to five years of post-secondary civil engineering education, which can be used on educational expenses, fees and books. Recipients will work in full-time, paid positions with INDOT during summer breaks and upon graduation.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be accepted or enrolled in one of Indiana’s certified civil engineering schools, which include Purdue University Fort Wayne, Purdue University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Trine University, University of Evansville, University of Notre Dame, University of Southern Indiana and Valparaiso University.

Applications are due by Dec. 31.

Main Street America; transforms 7 Indiana communities sponsored by OCRA

National Main Street to help transform Indiana downtowns
INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 28, 2018) – Seven Indiana Main Street communities will participate in transformation workshops led by National Main Street Center consultants this winter. Angola, Beech Grove, Jasper, Madison, Peru, Terre Haute and Winamac volunteered for this pilot program, sponsored by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
“All seven communities have demonstrated the effective implementation of the Main Street Four Point Approach,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “Our goal for each Main Street organization is to have a comprehensive plan to guide their efforts for the next three to five years.”
The two day workshops will assist the Indiana Main Street organizations to define community informed and market driven strategies that can direct and strengthen their revitalization efforts.
“We believe these Indiana communities will be able to implement the recommendations and demonstrate a measurable impact to be a case study for other Main Street communities,” said Matt Wagner, Vice President of Revitalization Programs of the National Main Street Center. “Community engagement and enthusiasm will make for a dynamic and successful program!”
The visits will begin with community input and will then be provided with research on market conditions, specific gaps and key opportunities that can strengthen the downtown district. For more information on these workshops, visit www.in.gov/ocra/mainstreet.htm, or the National Main Street Center at www.mainstreet.org/home.

About Main Street America
Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,000 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $71.35 billion in new public and private investment, generated 583,869 net new jobs and 131,974 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 267,800 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
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OCRA: 5 finalists have completed the last step in Stellar Communities

Stellar finalists present regional development plans
INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 21, 2018) – Today, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced five finalists have completed the last step in the Stellar Communities designation process. This program encourages Hoosier communities to work towards comprehensive regional planning.
“The respective regions worked diligently together, which was evident in the delivery of each presentation,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “I’d like to applaud the hard work, collaboration and commitment from the five finalists this year and I look forward to seeing their plans be put into action.”
Each region’s leadership team presented an executive summary of their Regional Development Plan to OCRA and the state stellar partner agencies. This plan is a four-year comprehensive community revitalization strategy that identifies projects, an implementation schedule, cost, funding resources and the significance of each project to the community.
Through the annual designation, the Stellar Communities Program helps communities by utilizing previous planning efforts, leveraging existing assets, fostering regional investments and stimulating continued growth.
The Stellar Communities finalist regions are:
• Health and Heritage – comprised of the city of Greenfield, the town of Fortville and Hancock County;
• Eastern Indiana – comprised of the town of Liberty, cities of Richmond, Rushville and Union City, and Randolph County;
• Marshall County Crossroads – comprised of the towns of Argos, Bremen, Bourbon, Culver, LaPaz and Plymouth and Marshall County;
• Mt. Comfort Road Corridor – comprised of the towns of Cumberland, McCordsville and New Palestine; and
• New Allen Alliance – comprised of the town of Grabill, Leo-Cedarville and Monroeville and the cities of New Haven and Woodburn and Allen County.
The Stellar Communities Program will designate two regions as Stellar Communities Designees on Monday, Dec. 10. Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development will assist the selected regions with long-term sustainability efforts and project implementation.
Visit in.gov/ocra/stellar for more information including copies of the plans.

OCRA announces a new federal grant received

Federal grant awarded to create new main street program
INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 19, 2019) – Today, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the Indiana U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development announced that nine Main Street organizations will be a part of a new program focused on retaining existing businesses and expanding new business and entrepreneurial opportunities.
“Collaboration between local, state and federal partners allows for these communities to create a stronger environment in their core commercial centers,” Crouch said. “Rural Indiana is the next great economic frontier, and we will continue to do what we can to support them and help them thrive.”
The Office of Community and Rural Affairs was awarded a $100,000 grant from the USDA Rural Development to create the IMPACT Main Street program.
“OCRA is a great partner and when it comes to their connections to the needs of rural communities around local community economic development, they are the go-to agency in Indiana for help with funding and technical assistance,” said Michael Dora, Indiana USDA State Director. “Therefore, it was only natural that USDA and OCRA expand on their partnership. We are a proud to leverage our assets and extend to OCRA a grant to be used to promote rural prosperity.”
The nine Main Street organizations selected for this pilot are in the following communities: Seymour, Fairmount, Tell City, Tipton, Rockville, Sullivan, Dillsboro, Elwood and LaPorte, and they will be working with Ball State University’s Indiana Communities Institute to design and implement business investment strategies for their downtowns.
“This type of innovative programming directly impacts local business development and spurs further private investment,” said Jodi Golden, OCRA Executive Director. “IMPACT Main Street will help us continue our mission to catalyze economic growth in our rural communities.”
Once the pilot is complete, OCRA intends to extend the program to other Main Street organizations.