Initial planning for Greencastle's Stellar Communities grant initiatives got a lift Friday as representatives from multiple state agencies met with city and DePauw University officials for a project-by-project planning session to review progress and develop next steps.
The planning meeting -- which included Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray and DePauw University President Brian Casey -- focused heavily on ensuring proper coordination between the parties involved in implementing the city's ambitious Stellar Communities proposal.
"Today's conversations presented an opportunity to lay the groundwork for how different programs and funding agencies will need to work together," Mayor Murray said.
"I was struck by the willingness of our state partners to help us find solutions and help us make progress," the mayor added. "There is an enormous amount of work left before us, but we're creating a framework to make sure we're successful."
David Terrell, the deputy chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, echoed the mayor's thoughts.
"The Stellar Communities program was designed to foster a culture of collaboration between a variety of state agencies, the City of Greencastle and DePauw," Terrell said. "Meetings like the one we had today help create the partnerships and establish the coordination that will be essential as we move towards implementation."
As a first-time program, Stellar has called on local and state officials to collaborate in new, innovative ways. Yet, these new partnerships may hold the key to the initiative's success.
"We know that we're at our best when the city is the strongest it can be," DePauw's Casey said. "We're partners in this effort, and I'm very happy about the ways in which we can work closely with the city to take Stellar from concept to reality."
Greencastle's Stellar Communities grant proposal was approved in March by the State of Indiana as one of two pilot projects (North Vernon being the other community).
The Stellar Grant may provide as much as $19 million over the next three years to support core projects designed to enhance the economic, cultural and residential vitality of Greencastle's downtown and the "South Court" neighborhood which connects it to the university.
The scope of the project ranges from streetscape improvements to economic development initiatives and historic preservation efforts, primarily focused on the square and in the surrounding neighborhood.