Marion was not designated a Stellar Community on Monday, bringing to an end its fifth attempt to garner the award from the State.

Crawfordsville and North Liberty were announced as the winners of this year’s Stellar competition in a showcase hosted by Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann at the Indiana State Fair. Community leaders expressed disappointment upon hearing the news.

“This is a disappointment for sure,” said Marion Common Councilmember Madonna French. “It would have been great to see that new riverfront.”

Of course many also expressed that Marion doesn’t need this recognition to still be a great City.

“Just because we didn’t get picked doesn’t mean Marion is a bad community,” said Grant County Economic Growth Council Director Tim Eckerle.

The Stellar Communities designation was going to bring in about $5 million of funding from the State to help complete seven projects, including a River Rock Arts Plaza, downtown apartments on Gallatin St., streetscape improvements, and more. The projects total a little more than $15.5 million, including the grants, money expected from the City, and private investments.

Marion Stellar Program Coordinator Mandy Woods said in June that the whole idea of the designation was to spur an increase in downtown traffic.

“A revitalized downtown is going to help every part of the community,” said Woods. “Obviously bringing in new investment to the area down the line, and that will draw residents and new businesses. It will bring all of the things we really want to see but haven’t been getting.”

Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold has said in the past that all seven projects will still be completed even if the city didn’t win the Stellar designation, though the projects wouldn’t be completed as quickly.

“That has always been the desire to keep moving on these projects,” said John Lightle, Interim Dir. Of the Grant County Visitors Bureau. “Of course it would have been easier with the additional funds.”

While the Stellar designation didn’t happen this year, many are still excited about the future.

“These projects are very exciting ideas, and the will continue to build on the past successes we have had in this community,” said Eckerle. 

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