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2/18/2012 12:47:00 PM
Shelbyville seeks $16.4 million in Stellar Communities grants

Nick Cusack, Shelbyville News Staff Writer

Shelbyville is taking another shot at a grant program that would fund several city projects totaling $16.4 million.

The city put in an application for this year's Stellar Communities program, administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and other state agencies.

Shelbyville's 2012 grant application outlines nearly $16.4 million in additions and improvements for the city, including bike and walking trails.

The city is optimistic, but cautious, after last year's application. Last year was the first year for the program and the chosen cities were North Vernon and Greencastle.

City officials said they don't want to get people's hopes up so early in the process, but they think they've learned what they can do better on this year's application.

"Our projects were kind of scattered (last year)," said Amy Haacker, director of redevelopment.

Haacker said that this year the proposed projects generally connect in some way.

For instance, multipurpose trails would reach from downtown up State Road 9 to Intelliplex Certified Technology Park, and another branch would connect the city parks to downtown and then Intelliplex.

Other projects are also focused on the connection between downtown, Intelliplex and other parts of the city.

The project also will incorporate business partners, which the city didn't have last year. Major Health Partners and Knauf Insulation are the largest employers among them.

Other projects, according to a letter the city sent to OCRA as part of the application, include redevelopment of the Methodist Building on Public Square to become a "downtown anchor as a community center, with educational opportunities through higher education partners," among several other goals for the building.

It also provides for downtown access to fiber optic cables, which are already buried below the sidewalks and improvements to the Intelliplex.

The new application includes similar themes as last year's -- such as better pedestrian areas and the trails -- but some of the major tenets of last year's $21 million Stellar Communities application were not included again, either because of the connectivity angle of the new application or because they are already being completed in other ways.

Haacker said finalists will be announced Tuesday morning. The program is likely to choose six to eight finalists and two winners.

Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who oversees OCRA at the Statehouse, came to Shelbyville on Wednesday and discussed some of the past grants that Shelbyville had received for revitalization and downtown redevelopment.

She said Shelbyville had done a great job leveraging what the state has given the city and that the city had a lot of private sector support. But, she warned federal money that help fund OCRA grants was getting thin.

"There will be even more competition going forward for these grants," she said.

Related Stories:
• Crawfordsville waiting for news on Stellar Communities grant
• Mayor lays out future plans for Washington in State of City address
• Bedford looks to enhance downtown, apply for Stellar Communities grant
• Logansport applies for $22 million grant through Stellar Communities program
• Portland seeking $6.67 million in Stellar Communities grant
• Auburn among seven finalists for 'Stellar Communities' grants
• Two Southwestern Indiana communities finalists for millions in grant funds

Copyright 2016 The Shelbyville News

Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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