Category Archives: Industry News

USDA Announcement; $4 Billion Available for Rural Water Projects

An Urgent Announcement from USDA
Apply Now: More Than $4 Billion in Loans Available for Rural Water Infrastructure Projects

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, July 30, 2018 – Not long ago, the United States was a world leader in infrastructure investments. Federal and private funding helped even the most remote communities obtain electricity, running water and access to the rest of the world through telecommunications.

However, recent years have not followed the same trend, and too many rural communities have been left behind. The need for improvement is great, especially for rural water and wastewater systems.

To put this in perspective, the American Water Works Association estimates that more than $600 billion is needed over the next 20 years to upgrade our nation’s water and wastewater systems. Unfortunately, many small and rural water systems lack access to affordable financing.

But there is hope for the future. This year, USDA Rural Development has more than $4 billion in direct loans available now to help rural communities build or upgrade water infrastructure. This is a substantial increase from last year. In 2017, USDA helped more than 2.5 million rural residents get access to upgraded water and wastewater systems. I am excited to see how many more people we can help with this unprecedented funding opportunity.

I encourage rural community leaders and water district operators to apply now for this assistance before the Sept. 30 deadline. USDA state and field offices are great resources to use during the application process, and we have technical assistance providers with water and waste expertise that can help complete rural communities’ applications.

USDA’s support for rural water infrastructure is already making a big impact. In Indiana, we have utilized the water and environmental programs with much success. For example, our agency recently awarded the Town of North Judson funding totaling $4,892,000 to convert a portion of the town’s combined sewer collection system into separate sanitary and storm sewers. The town is currently under an agreed order with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. This project is part of the town’s Long-Term Control Plan and is the result of a Rural Development Pre-planning Grant; and awarded the Town of Kingman funding totaling $3,135,000 to upgrade a wastewater collection system and treatment plant. The system serves the 484 residents of the town and is dealing with health and sanitary issues.

Water districts and rural communities can apply for USDA loans electronically using the interactive RD Apply tool, you can contact me directly at or (317) 295-5760, or reach out to one of our field staff.

USDA is eager to partner with you in this effort to modernize water infrastructure in our state’s rural communities.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

John Seever; Umbaugh; AWWA Board of Directors

Umbaugh Partner John Seever was elected to serve at three year term as the Indiana Director to the American Water Works Association’s (“AWWA”) Board of Directors. The AWWA has over 52,000 members in North America and is the oldest and largest organization representing the water industry in the U.S. The AWWA Board of Directors establishes policies for the overall management and direction of water affairs. He has also been selected to serve on AWWA’s National Finance Committee. John has been active in Indiana Section AWWA for many years, previously serving as Chair of the Indiana Section.

OCRA grants 5 Communities grants

Five Indiana communities receive OCRA grants

INDIANAPOLIS (June 18, 2018) – The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs awarded five communities grant monies to help celebrate the first-ever Downtown Development Week.  

The week of Oct. 8 – 12, 2018 will be an opportunity for communities across the state to host events to showcase their downtowns and encourage camaraderie through events and activities. Downtown Development Week will honor Indiana’s cities and towns’ commitment to preserve and invest in their downtown.

“We are excited to see so many communities take Downtown Development week, make it their own and plan some extraordinary events for their neighbors,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA.

Five projects were selected from 24 submitted applications and will receive a $1,000 grant. The projects are listed below, and for more information, visit

City of Decatur
To celebrate Downtown Development Week, the city will highlighted recent investments in their downtown that includes: renovations, new streetscapes, upgraded facades, new street lights and a new festival plaza.

City of Fairmount
Main Street Fairmount will host a three-day event celebrating the completion of the first phase of their Main Street Revitalization Program grant. The event will recognize and celebrate the partnership between the Town of Fairmount and Main Street Fairmount along with celebrating businesses, service and veterans organizations and individuals who have supported downtown Fairmount.

City of Greenfield, and the City of Fortville
Greenfield Main Street Inc. and Fortville Action Inc. are partnering to host scavenger hunts in each community throughout the week. Both scavenger hunts will incorporate each community’s unique history and cultural features. 

City of Kendallville
Experience the Heart of Kendallville will be hosting various activities during Downtown Development Week to include storefront window decorating contest and a downtown celebration.

City of Madison
The Madison Main Street Program will have a week of action-packed events for community members and visitors to learn and appreciate downtown Madison’s history and architecture.  Events include a window display contest, special menus at downtown restaurants, a pumpkin carving contest as well, as a Micro-Mini-Marathon, which encourages people to dress in costume.

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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