Despite a good showing early on, Greencastle recently lost its bid to be part of a statewide initiative aimed at helping small towns attract new businesses and improve their overall economy.
Had the city been selected, it would have joined up to 12 "pilot communities" in the state to be eligible for assistance through the Indiana Hometown Competitiveness Program, a product of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
Acceptance to the program would have allowed city officials to sit down with experts from universities and state agencies to develop and implement a strategic plan for improving business, attracting young workers and encouraging more community involvement, among other goals.
Greencastle made the first of two cuts in late 2007 and received an on-site visit from the IHCP team. Local officials said they thought the meeting went well and they were hopeful about the city making the final cut.
"The resource team enjoyed our presentation," said Greencastle City Planner Shannon Norman, who had a role in planning the city's application.
Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray also attended the meeting with the IHCP team last year. She told the BannerGraphic, this week, that IHCP officials were impressed with the progress the city had already made in planning for future economic growth.
"They said we were a little further down the road" than the other communities that were applying for the program, Murray said, referring to the progress that has been made through the Greencastle Hometown Alliance initiative.
Separate from the IHCP program, the Hometown Alliance group, which is made up of local business and community leaders, has been working for the past two years to develop a marketing strategy for Greencastle. The group is planning a community summit for local residents to share their ideas for developing new businesses and generally promote Greencastle.
"I would hope that within six to nine months, it will have happened," Mayor Murray said of the summit.
The mayor and city planner said they are disappointed that Greencastle was not selected to be part of the IHCP program, while at the same time, they are happy with the progress that has been made through the Greencastle Hometown Alliance initiative.
"I don't think it's anything we did or didn't do," Norman said. "We are really overqualified for the program."
Mayor Murray said one of her goals will be to move forward with the Hometown Alliance and other economic development issues.
"We're going to forge ahead," she said.