GREENCASTLE -- Community residents are invited to a celebration Thursday afternoon to mark Greencastle's inclusion as a Stellar Community in a state pilot program.
The celebration is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. today in the Great Hall of the DePauw University Green Center for Performing Arts. Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman will be on hand to officially announce that Greencastle will share an estimated $31 million in state funding over the next three years with the Jennings County community of North Vernon.
Greencastle city officials learned of the community's selection Monday afternoon, and during Tuesday evening's City Council session, Mayor Sue Murray encouraged the public to share in the celebration event.
She called it a "once-in-a-community-lifetime" achievement.
"Small communities don't get that kind of infusion of dollars very often," Mayor Murray said. "This is something we are extremely proud of. We have much to thank the lieutenant governor for."
City officials have been told that the $31 million investment by the state will not be split evenly between Greencastle and North Vernon.
Jay Kenworthy, communications director for Lt. Gov. Skillman, told the Banner Graphic Tuesday that exact figures were still being determined. However, he noted that Greencastle's original application asked for $26 million in funding for a project designed to enhance the downtown and link the city more closely with DePauw University. North Vernon had asked for $16 million in a project focusing on creating a southern Indiana economic hub for the defense industry.
Acknowledging that the final figures were still unconfirmed, Kenworthy said one possible split would see Greencastle getting "about $19 million" over the next three years, while North Vernon would receive approximately $12 million.
Kenworthy also offered praise for the community's effort in securing the grant.
"We had a lot of grant proposals," he said, "but Greencastle and North Vernon really stood out at the top of the list. The involvement of DePauw University and your community really stood out."