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Indiana’s Stellar Communities . A first of its kind collaboration between: Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). Pilot Communities 2011: Greencastle North Vernon

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indiana s stellar communities

Indiana’s Stellar Communities

A first of its kind collaboration between:

Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA)

Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA)

Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT)


Pilot Communities



North Vernon









Union City


New Castle






North Vernon





city of greencastle
City of Greencastle
  • Revitalize courthouse square and central business district
  • Create pedestrian friendly residential areas
  • Enhance housing options - second story loft housing in commercial district and new construction in South Court neighborhood
  • Home owner repair and improvement
  • Community health initiatives, including new community health center and new trail linking community to recreational area
  • Partnership with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
  • Technology hub/Wi-Fi bubble in commercial district
city of north vernon
City of North Vernon
  • Carnegie Library Restoration
  • Depot Events Center Renovation
  • Downtown Streetscapes
  • Historic Uptown Streetscape improvements and home owner repair improvement in the Irish Hill neighborhood
  • Close Short Street to construct pedestrian-friendly plaza space
  • Main Street Development - mixed use for both commercial and residential development
city of delphi
City of Delphi
  • Revitalize the Delphi Opera House
  • Create streetscapes that connect the downtown area.
  • Provide façade restorations.
  • Downtown Loft Space.
  • Home owner repair and improvement.
  • Extend the Washington Street Gateway Trail to connect the historic canal center to downtown and the southern gateway.
  • Quiet Zone Improvements
city of princeton
City of Princeton
  • Restoration of Downtown facades.
  • Preservation of the Historic Princeton Theatre.
  • Creation of Bicentennial Plaza
  • Downtown streetscape enhancements.
  • Downtown Senior Housing cottages.
  • Enhancement of the trail system to provide connectivity throughout the city.
  • Partnership with Toyota Manufacturing
program overview
Program Overview
  • Stellar Communities embodies collaborative government partnerships to successfully leverage state and federal funding from multiple agencies to undertake large-scale comprehensive community revitalization projects. 
  • Through this program, Indiana is achieving more with combined resources, making an enduring impact on communities.
stellar communities process
Stellar Communities Process
  • Letter of interest
  • Evaluations
  • Chief Elected Officials of finalist communities attend a workshop
  • Finalists submit a Strategic Investment Plan
  • Site visits and evaluations
  • Award announcements
  • Community celebrations
  • Follow-up with communities not selected
  • Three year construction and implementation
  • Continuum of Care on all levels.
stellar funding
Stellar Funding
  • OCRA: CDBG allocation (built into Consolidated Plan)
  • IHCDA: CDBG-Disaster, CDBG, HOME Investment Partnership Program, Indiana Community Development Fund, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (RHTC)
  • INDOT: Transportation Enhancement Grants, Standard Federal Transportation Funding
  • Indiana’s Stellar Communities Program is a comprehensive community development program focusing on:
    • Regionalism
    • Creating expedited physical transformations
    • Cultivating Relationships/Partnerships
    • Utilizing shared resources
    • Engagement of the community in planning process
    • Acceleration of community economic goals
    • Community Pride (see next slide)
program challenges
Program Challenges
  • Finding common “language” between multiple agencies.
  • Scheduling and logistics.
  • Coordinating multiple projects funded by different agencies and with varying award timelines.
  • Community coordination of projects-breaking that barrier of agencies and community balance.
  • Reduction of available funding.
lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • How much we went back to original criteria
    • Regional, Sustainable, Replicable, Impact

Leveraging other resources and involving other entities

Site Visits were critical

Complementary projects emphasis

Continual discussions to recap and massage

Embedded Community Liaison and constant communication

Quarterly Meetings (and beyond)

future program opportunities
Future Program Opportunities
  • Additional state/federal partners?
  • Continuing conversations in regards to concept of regionalism and economic development.
  • Increase in demand for comprehensive community planning/development.
  • Evaluation of local investment opportunities generated as a result of Stellar Communities award.
how to be ready
How to be Ready
  • Updated/recent comprehensive plan
    • Community input and participation
  • Participate in programs to gain experience
    • Main Street (OCRA)
    • HTC (OCRA)
    • Owner-Occupied Rehab (IHCDA)
    • Federal-aid Transportation Program (INDOT)
  • Note: success has been associated with a focus on one area that integrates all sources and makes a big impact
contact information
Contact Information

Michael Thissen

Director of Community Affairs

State of Indiana-Office of Community and Rural Affairs

One North Capitol Ste. 600

Indianapolis, IN. 46204