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OCRA Press Release: 13 Indiana Communities awarded

  Thirteen Indiana communities
& organizations awarded OCRA grants

INDIANAPOLIS (July 12, 2018) – The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs awarded more than $59,000 to 13 communities and organizations for quality of place initiatives through the Quick Impact Placebased Grant.

This is the second year for the competitive matching grant program designed to fund placemaking and transformational projects that spark community-wide conversations and creativity.

“This grant rewards creativity, ingenuity and collaboration with the end result leaving a lasting impression on communities and the Hoosiers who live there for years to come,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “These projects will help build stronger communities and enhance the distinctive character of local Indiana places for positive outcomes.

The 13 projects that received grants were selected from the 38 submitted applications and will receive grant funds ranging from $2,500 to $5,000.

For more information, visit

Project summaries are provided below:

Artlink Contemporary Galleries
City of Ft. Wayne, amount awarded: $2,500
This grant will create an immersive, narrative sound installation comprised of Myaamiaki voices in Little Turtle Memorial Park. Visitors will be able to hear the stores of the Myaamiaki tribe through a mobile app as they walk through park.

Arts Council of Southwest Indiana
Evansville, amount awarded: $5,000
This grant will commission and install a gateway sculpture titled “The Marker” on Main Street in downtown Evansville by local artist, Amy Musia. The marker is an oversized stainless steel sphere with a mirror finish fashioned to look like an oversized pin, as if marking the location as a destination.

Big Car Collaborative
Indianapolis, amount awarded: $5,000
This grant will fund the Indy Bee Sanctuary which combines public art, urban agriculture and beekeeping. Two beehives will be a part of an open-air structure in Garfield Park, providing education on the interdependency on bees and humans, as well as a public space to relax.

City of Delphi
Amount awarded: $5,000
This will fund the Gateway Project, which will repurpose parts of the salvaged Hamilton Street Bridge and create a new entrance archway for Delphi’s Trailhead Park and the access point to extensive local trails.

City of Lawrenceburg
Amount awarded: $4,800
This grant will fund the purchase of two permanent chess/checkers tables for Newton Park in downtown Lawrenceburg.

City of Madison
Amount awarded: $5,000
This project will allow local artists’ artwork to be displayed on street light banners throughout the Historic Arts & Cultural district in Madison.

City of Noblesville
Amount awarded: $5,000
This project will create a walkable, holiday light display featuring local, vintage holiday decorations at Seminary Park adjacent to downtown Noblesville.

City of Rushville
Amount awarded: $5,000
This project will help create a “Fun Mobile” trailer that will be filled with not only transport games and other special event materials, but also transforms into a mobile concession stand.

Preservation Society of Union City
Union City, amount awarded: $5,000
This grant will fund two local artists, Selina Burk and Phil Wood, to paint a mural depicting the Step Van trucks on The Art Hub building facing the alley between Columbia and Howard Streets in Union City.

Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Amount awarded: $4,995
This project will fund the creation of eight custom bike racks throughout downtown Terre Haute for Indiana State University’s bike share program, with art panels detailing the city as the official birthplace of the Coca-Cola Bottle.

Town of Culver
Amount awarded: $2,500
This project will purchase games and family activities to be used for Main Street block party events. These portable games include: a bubble machine, giant Uno, Connect 4, yard dice, checkers board, dominos, cornhole boards, foot darts and a spikeball set.

Town of Hebron
Amount awarded: $5,000
This project will construct a shaded sail-like pavilion in Novreske Park.  The applicant will also install sidewalks and picnic tables to create a shaded seating space for all who visit.

Town of Highland Redevelopment Commission
Amount awarded: $5,000
This project will expand the Sculpture and Art Walk by hiring local artists and students from Highland High School to create three murals. These murals will be installed on buildings located within the Highland Downtown Arts District.


Under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as the Secretary of Rural Development, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs’ (OCRA) mission is to work with local, state and national partners to provide resources and technical assistance to assist communities in shaping and achieving their vision for community and economic development. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Melissa Thomas
Office of Community and Rural Affairs
(317) 727-7682
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EPA Webinar; Source Water Protection- Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for EPA’s Small Drinking Water Systems Webinar on Source Water Protection. After registering for the webinar, you should receive an automatic reply from GoToMeeting with a link to test your computer’s compatibility with the webinar software.

A webinar will be given each month to discuss challenges and treatment solutions for small drinking water and wastewater systems.

GAI moves office to Downtown Indianapolis

National Engineering Firm Relocates, Positions for Growth
Indianapolis, IN—GAI Consultants (GAI) announced today the opening of its new office location in downtown Indianapolis, IN. This move prepares the firm for continued growth and expansion in Central Indiana, and allows GAI to better serve the Indiana Department of Transportation, City of Indianapolis Department of Public Works and other municipal, private, and energy clients. GAI currently maintains three locations in Indiana, including Indianapolis, Fishers, and Fort Wayne.
Highlights/Key Facts
GAI is undergoing exciting growth and is actively seeking skilled individuals to work on challenging initiatives from the firm’s downtown Indianapolis, Fishers, and Fort Wayne locations.
The new downtown location has been designed to reflect GAI’s brand, and aligns with the firm’s focus of providing staff with optimal workspaces.
GAI currently works for a multitude of clients across Indiana, including the City of Indianapolis Department of Public Works, City of Fishers, Indiana Department of Transportation, Town of Brownsburg, City of Greenfield, City of Seymour, City of Bedford, City of Beech Grove, and City of Lebanon.
The office is led by Scott Hornsby, PE, an Assistant Vice President in GAI’s Midwest Markets.
GAI’s new office is located at Capital Center, South Tower, 201 N. Illinois Street, Suite 1700, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
An Open House event at GAI’s downtown Indianapolis office is planned for the summer of 2018.

OCRA Welcomes Michael Sinnet (Project Manager) & Paul Smith (Community Liason)

OCRA names new Project Manager and Community Liaison
INDIANAPOLIS – On March 12, Michael Sinnet joined the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) as the Project Manager handling the Stellar Communities program. Before joining OCRA, Michael was a Program Manager for Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana. The program he managed provided job-readiness skills training to seniors, 55 and older, with a goal of returning people to the workforce.
For more than 10 years, Michael has served in various non-profit leadership roles. While working for the John Boner Neighborhood Center, he helped design programs that provide academic, recreational, and cultural life skill experiences to students. He worked with parents, staff, and administration of the school. He also previously worked for the Boys & Girls Club of Montgomery County, helping to create broader organizational impact through program development, staff growth and grant management.
Michael is a collaborative minded individual who enjoys working with diverse populations, organizations and communities to improve programs and processes that positively influence under-served populations.
Michael holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Michael lives in Crawfordsville with his wife Tiffany, daughters Peyton and Harper and dog Oscar. He enjoys being outdoors, concerts and reading.
On March 26, Paul Smith joined OCRA as the West Central Community Liaison. The West Central region covers the following counties: Boone, Hendricks, Monroe, Morgan, Owen, Greene, Sullivan, Clay, Vigo, Putnam, Parke, Vermillion, Fountain and Montgomery.
For more than 21 years, Paul has served in the Navy in various positions across the US. This progressive management and leadership experience allowed him to serve in positions that required leadership, talent development, HR knowledge and outstanding customer service. He helped to create broader organizational impact through program development, proactive community collaboration, and innovative resourcefulness.
He also is active in his community by volunteering with the Baxter YMCA, the USS Indiana and the USS Indianapolis Commissioning Committees.
Paul holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Marian University and a Master of Business Administration from Anderson University.
Paul lives in Greenwood with his wife Kristin, along with their four children and two dogs. He enjoys being outdoors, reading and spending time with his family.

Jennifer Voris named New Southeast Community Liason of OCRA

March 20, 2018

A new Southeast Community Liaison is
INDIANAPOLIS – Earlier this month, Jennifer Voris moved from the West Central to the Southeast Community Liaison position with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). The Southeast region covers the following counties: Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Dearborn, Decatur, Floyd, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Ohio, Ripley, Scott, Switzerland and Washington.
Jennifer joined OCRA in October of 2017. Before joining OCRA, Jennifer previously worked for Dorel/Cosco Home & Office Products in Columbus, IN. She has more than twenty years of experience working in finance, marketing and sales in a variety of positions including the CEO of the Brown County Chamber of Commerce.
“My passion lies within state and county government and it is an area I have been very much involved in at the local level for the past 20 years,” said Voris.
Jennifer has a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Butler University and is also a Lugar Series graduate. She has served on various local economic and planning boards as well as in multiple volunteer positions. She is a native of Columbus, IN and has resided in Nashville for 27 years with her husband Larry. She has one grown daughter and recently became a grandmother in January.
For counties located in the West Central and East Central regions, Christmas Hudgens is your interim contact. Jennifer will remain a helpful contact for the West Central region during the transition as well.

Under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as the Secretary of Rural Development, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs’ (OCRA) mission is to work with local, state and national partners to provide resources and technical assistance to assist communities in shaping and achieving their vision for community and economic development. For more information, visit