Greencastle celebrates Stellar Community funding

Thursday, March 10, 2011

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."

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  • SERIOUSLY! The celebration is on DePauw Campus???? Why not have it on the town square? or at McAnally on the bbcourt and even include our young folks of our community? or at the Fairgrounds?

    Why on DePauw Campus? Makes no sense to me. who's in charge of these decisions? This is not a good start people.

    -- Posted by just a local on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 9:16 AM
  • Pssst, its on campus because thats where the benefits of the cash will be greatest. It even says in both articles " the city more closely with DePauw University."

    Its a double edged sword, because without the university, Greencastle wouldn't have sniffed that funding, but at the same time the only area feeling the benefit will be the already dead town square, and more importantly the campus.

    -- Posted by stranded67 on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 9:44 AM
  • So according to the two pessimists, revitalizing the town square and making downtown a destination for locals and visitors alike is a detriment. Really?? Great college towns bring in tons of secondary benefits to the town, such as more small business in the terms of shops, restaurants, galleries, etc. More small businesses, in turn, makes a quaint small town more attractive to outsiders, who then decide this is a place they want to raise their kids or retire. They buy houses, stimulating that part of the market. A quaint town has old houses, which when bought often need a bit of refurbishing, thus stimulating the construction industry, workers who then run to the local fast food restaurants for lunch, and who's wives may turn and frequent the shops and restaurants on the square. More people with jobs bring dollars to mechanics and car dealers, vets are able to give the pets regular check-ups. More parents will take their kids to the pool in the summer, because they have the spare money to spend. People will buy new lawnmowers, new refrigerators. The Farmers' Market will be even more popular, because people will have money to spend on local produce and flowers. Landscapers will have plenty of work beautifying yards, and buying equipment at Headley's and other local stores. Rising real estate values then raise assessment values, which you'll probably complain about, but this will increase the tax revenue that comes in for our schools, so we can expand the educational experience for our youth, who have suffered the most since IBM left town. More of these kids will go off to college, and with an attractive hometown, will want to move home to work here after they graduate.

    Why on DePauw's campus? Because they are the most stable industry we have in Greencastle. They offer the most solid jobs to the locals, infusing our local economy with money. It was their resources that allowed the city to apply for and receive this grant. Hate to break it to you folks, but if it's good for DePauw, it's good for Greencastle. When DePauw is flourishing, they hire more professors, more administrative positions, more support and maintenance positions - all of which means more people able to afford to stay here in Greencastle and frequent the local businesses. Those students, whom everyone loves to complain about, do not commute to this town, they LIVE here for 9 months out of the year. And contrary to many comments about previous articles, they spend their money here. It doesn't matter where their money comes from, whether it's their money or their parents', they're spending it here. And with the trickle-down effect of local economies, it ends up in the local pockets. And finally, the other reason this celebration is at DePauw, the GCPA is the most beautiful structure in town that can hold the number of people that will turn out for this, as well as the media. Can't we enjoy this moment in a location that reflects what a great honor it is??

    -- Posted by snowboardermom on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 10:27 AM
  • Yes, this is a great honor --- spending the taxpayer's money in a time when states and our federal government are all going broke. Good grief!

    -- Posted by not gullible on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 10:36 AM
  • So, in your opinion, money that is flat out going to a community within Indiana no matter what, should not come to our community and give us an economic boost. A boost which could help minimize the effects of the recession within our area. You may not be gullible, but seriously, can everyone look at the positive effects this is going to have for Greencastle, and yes, Putnam County?? Our country's economy will not rebound simply due to who is or isn't in office, or because the clock has struck midnight. It is not going to rebound because of the big corporations that are still shipping off to faraway paradises/3rd world countries with no labor laws. Our economy is going to rebound with small steps at the local level, which then create small pockets of robustness, which then translate to larger pockets, then to whole states/region(Midwest, Rockies, the South), and then bang, the country is finally back on track. Change is not something to be afraid of when it comes to a solid path of creating jobs and putting food on the table, which this grant will do.

    -- Posted by snowboardermom on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 11:03 AM
  • Right, so don't interpret my message to mean something that it doesn't. And it doesn't mean that i don't acknowledge DePauw University as being beneficial to our town. It's wonderful to have such an institution in our community. It just seems to me that a great way to bring DePauw and the "towns folks" together would be to bring DePauw OUT of their 'community' into our town for such a gathering and celebration.

    The article states that this celebration is at the Great Hall of the DePauw University Green Center for Performing Arts. How many people in our community who are not familiar with DePauw campus, even know where that is???? At least a street address would be nice.

    Having this celebration on depauw campus seems not so "Greencastle Community" friendly.

    So before you label me a pessimist, why not take the criticism as constructive. Take it as the truth of how I and many other proud local town folks feel.

    -- Posted by just a local on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 11:15 AM
  • I agree it is not clear to non-DePauw folks. The GCPA is the former Performing Arts Center, with the main entrance on College Street, across from the Lilly Center. And I understand what you are saying from the aspect of bringing this out into the community. But please look at this from a logistics viewpoint. A lot of people, a lot of media, the ability to set up sufficient sound systems and the experts to work them on such short notice. The court house could not hold this, the fairgrounds is large enough, but technology-wise is a blackhole. DePauw, again, has the resources to pull this off. This is just the kick-off, most people cannot make it because of short notice and obligations. They will see it in the Banner tomorrow and watch it on the news tonight. Then, in a few weeks, literally and truly, the bulldozers are arriving. This is all happening now. And while the initial moment is not out in the city, the work will be. Our town square is going to be what it was 30-40-50 years ago.

    (my apologies for labeling you a pessimist)

    (and I, too, am one of those proud local town folks, have been for generations)

    -- Posted by snowboardermom on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 11:28 AM
  • Wow you guys are more interesting than the article. I will have to agree with most of snowboardermoms comments. However I think if the Mayor wanted the local people there it would have been in the paper earier, I have a hard time that they just found out this morning. I would guess that she doesn't want to take the chance of being embarrassed by some of our town people. I also am not fond of some of them but if they are taxpayers they have a right to be there. (and I have been in this town my whole life)

    P.S. I am sorry if puntuation is off I didn't pay enough attention to Mrs Franklin haha.

    -- Posted by T.C. FATHER OF 2 on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 12:54 PM
  • I just don't understand why so many people think are downtown is dead. We have four restaurants two with wonderful candies and deserts. three pubs, two art galleries,portrait studios,framing& matting,store,children's toys and learning aids,two jewelry stores,bike shop, Ink shop,office supply store,appliance & tv store,2 banks ,a pawn shop & swap shop with tools and musical instruments etc.,,2 printing companies,not including the paper,2 or 3 places to get tee shirts and promo products made.SORRY IF I FORGOT ANY ONE THIS IS JUST OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD!!!!

    I Love Are Downtown.

    -- Posted by greatful mom on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 1:23 PM
  • T.C. Father OF 2: It was first Announced in Mondays paper that the celebration would be on Thursday.

    -- Posted by BGreader on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 3:20 PM
  • Also, TC think about it. We received the money Monday. Banner runs no paper Tuesdays, City council met Tuesday night Banner goes into print early Wednesday AM. Calls probably made to finalize the location/those in attendance etc Wednesday, hence Thursday publication of the place.

    Quit ********.

    -- Posted by anonymous101 on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 4:46 PM
  • Thank you BGreader I didn't catch that and anonymous101 thats not nice I didn't feel like I was b______ thats just the way I felt if the mayor really wanted people there then put it in the paper thursday and have the celebration friday. Usually if someone sends you a late invitation it means that they did so hoping you wouldn't be able to make it because they didn't want you there in the first place maybe I'm wrong maybe I am a poor judge of character but you seem to have a lot of info so you must be close to someone that knows. I just know that I have spoke to several people about this and they have voiced the same opinion so like it or not we are out there.

    -- Posted by T.C. FATHER OF 2 on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 11:56 PM
  • LOL thats some rosey colored glasses thinking. In a perfect world, yeah, things might work out like SBM thinks, but here in reality, in a couple years we'll have pretty new facades on buildings you still can't easily park near, loft living spaces rented by depauw students, along with new housing in the south court...again for the students, or those few more professors they hired, 5-10 more parking spaces around the square, another (really?) walking trail, and people still scratching their heads why things haven't improved. Well, except for on campus...

    -- Posted by stranded67 on Fri, Mar 11, 2011, at 9:52 AM
  • I am guessing that the celebration was scheduled around when the lieutenant governor chose to come here.

    -- Posted by localmom44 on Fri, Mar 11, 2011, at 10:05 AM
  • Maybe folks could contact city hall and volunteer to be on the committees which will hammer out good spending plans.

    -- Posted by localmom44 on Fri, Mar 11, 2011, at 10:07 AM
  • No stranded67, my glasses are not rose-colored. Instead I can chalk up my years of living in great towns that had city and community leaders with vision and the gumption to see their plans through to the end. These towns were able to improve from dusty little cow-towns and become regional economic hubs, with as few as 8000 residents, as we're about to do. This life experience combined with my degree in Economics and an understanding of how local economies work in the real world are what give me my perspective. That and I took off the blinders years ago, and it's amazing the potential you can see when you lose the dusty tunnel vision that is created when you have chosen to hole up in a trench, blame everyone else and not appreciate the blessings as they come your way. And let me repeat, I was born and raised here. I am not some "outsider" preaching that I know what's best for this town that so many people seem to be afraid of around here. My family has been here for generations. But we have realized there are wonderful examples of places to live elsewhere, and why can't Greencastle be one of those places, complete with all the advantages and opportunities other college towns in the US have.

    -- Posted by snowboardermom on Fri, Mar 11, 2011, at 12:19 PM
  • sentiments exactly. Thank you!

    -- Posted by sarah on Sun, Mar 13, 2011, at 8:51 PM
  • Snowboardermom- I too live here and can't wait to see Greencastle develop over the next 10 years. And not all of those lofts are going to DePauw. I want one of them!

    -- Posted by localman on Tue, Mar 15, 2011, at 7:48 PM
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