INDIANAPOLIS – The NewAllen Alliance won the state’s Stellar Communities designation Tuesday – along with millions to aid the regional strategy.
“We were thrilled with their project. They were much more advanced than other areas in the state because they had been working together for years,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “They are all about generational change and improving livability and making it more attractive."
She added that the group recognized the strength of Fort Wayne's Regional Cities effort and sought to complement it through their "East Allen Rural Revival" plan.
NewAllen Alliance comprises Leo-Cedarville, Grabill, Harlan, Woodburn, New Haven, Monroeville and Hoagland.
The other winner was Health and Heritage – comprised of the city of Greenfield, the town of Fortville and Hancock County in central Indiana.
The Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced the Stellar winners. The program encourages Hoosier communities to work toward comprehensive regional planning.
“The respective regions worked diligently together, which was evident in the delivery of each presentation,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “I’d like to applaud the hard work, collaboration and commitment from the five finalists this year and I look forward to seeing their plans be put into action.”
Each region’s leadership team recently presented an executive summary of their Regional Development Plan to OCRA and the state stellar partner agencies. This plan is a four-year comprehensive community revitalization strategy that identifies projects, an implementation schedule, cost, funding resources and the significance of each project to the community.
Through the annual designation, the Stellar Communities Program helps communities by using previous planning efforts, leveraging existing assets, fostering regional investments and stimulating continued growth.
The Stellar Communities program will provide about $5.8 million of the $17 million for projects in the NewAllen Alliance, according to the application. The group also must identify almost $2.2 million in local matching leverage funds and $8.8 million in private investment.
The list of proposed projects includes:
• Streetscape improvements in Grabill, Leo-Cedarville and Woodburn
• East Allen County Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation program for assistance to homeowners who want to fix up their houses
• Improvement of Forest Street sidewalks in Monroeville and Woodburn
• Monroe Street corridor improvements in Monroeville
• New Haven/Adams Township Community Center Park development
• New Haven Meadowbrook Trail
• Development of Katy Gene Cove low-income senior housing tax-credit project in New Haven
• Healthy Eating Active Living project to address obesity
An additional 29 complimentary projects with other funding worth $47.7 million are also part of the plan, which is worth more than $64 million.
Crouch said she recently visited the Healthy Eating Active Living project and was impressed by the vision and the tasty food.
“They are trying to encourage healthy eating habits, nutrition. They are going into food desert areas and setting up that program to ensure all Hoosiers have an equal opportunity to nutrition,” she said.