The Indiana Lieutenant Governor’s office announced the winner of this year’s Indiana Stellar Community designation, and a local community just missed out on the top prize.
Culver worked for months to craft a project’s list, identify funding opportunities, and practice their presentation to representatives of the state as part of their Stellar Communities application. It was announced Thursday morning the lake community lost out in the small population category to Corydon.
Culver Town Manager Jonathan Leist says it’s obviously a disappointment.
“We did work really hard on it this past year and had a lot of people invest a lot of time and energy into it so obviously you’d like to see it come out with us getting the designation, but it is very competitive,” says Leist. “There’s only one designee in our category, two for the whole state each year.”
Stellar Communities is a planning and grant support program that requires a community to identify projects that enhance the life of its residents. If selected, the Stellar Community is identified by the state as deserving investment, making future grant opportunities more likely to be awarded.
This year’s winner in the small population category is a former Indiana state capital. The community of 3,000 was announced as the winner during Indiana’s bicentennial year.
Despite the downside, Culver now has plans and matching funds available for immediate grant funding opportunities. The break until next year’s application deadline will also allow the Town and its steering committee time to finalize plans and make tweaks.
Leist says he’s looking forward to getting feedback from the state.
“The one thing that stood out to me with Corydon – who ended up being the designee – was the amount of match that was provided through their Community Foundation in Harrison County, where Corydon’s located,” says Leist. “We weren’t able to go those kind of numbers together for ours. I don’t know if that was a factor at all, or not. But that was the one thing looking at it originally that stood out to me.”
Culver is anticipating a follow-up meeting with representatives from the state in September to discuss possible changes for next year. It is considered rare for first time applicants to be designated a Stellar Community.