Culver’s New Year’s gift to residents: More than $1M in grant-funded projects

As folks the world over look back over the “good, the bad, and the ugly” from 2010, Culverites can look to a year chock full of funds flowing into the community towards its improvement, and all of it without raising a dime in taxes. In fact, says Town Manager Michael Doss — a key individual responsible for progress on the host of grant-funded Culver projects secured last year — that amounts to between $1,400 and $1,500 per resident in additional monies to improve the community and its infrastructure.
With heated language firing back and forth on the national political scene about responsible use of public funds, Doss sees this as an example of government working efficiently for the people’s best interest.
“Overall this year we secured about $1,244,000 in grant money,” says Doss, towards $1,669,000 in total cost for projects planned. “We really spent the tail end of 2009 and beginning of 2010 doing planning, and then we went out and got funding. We’re now in the pipeline to do the work in 2011.”
The rundown of 2011 projects planned to commence includes the Lake Maxinkuckee outlet culvert replacement (planned for April, 2011), S. Main Street water and sewer extensions (April), Culver bike route sign installation (April), Culver curb projects (May), street paving projects including Lake Street (Lake Shore Drive to Washington Street), Plymouth Street (Lake Shore to Jefferson), Academy Road (Slate Street to the end of the road), Ohio Street (Davis to Lake Shore), and Davis Street (Main to dead end), in May; East Davis Street stormwater line upgrade (August), downtown streetscape enhancements (October), wastewater facility and collection system improvements (December), and sidewalk replacements through Safe Routes to School, including Ohio Street (Mill to Lake Shore), School Street (Lake Shore to Academy, east side only), and Main Street (Davis to Lake Shore, minus downtown), slated actually for May, 2012.
Non-grant funding included $725,000 from an agreement with Lake Maxinkuckee’s Southwest Conservancy District, $425,000 of which the town of Culver used as a match for a $994,000 federal Disaster Recovery 2 grant towards overhaul of the town’s wastewater facility and collection system. The remaining $300,000 from the Southwest agreement, says Doss, will be kept in reserves for future enhancements “so we don’t have to raise any rates for anyone so it’s a savings later on.” The project cost totals $1.4 million.
An Indiana Department of Transportation grant for $422,000 towards the $530,000 project total officially came in late in 2009. The grant is for a number of improvements to Culver’s downtown, including curbs, sidewalks, lighting, and other measures towards enhancement and beautification, emphasizing the importance of the downtown for Culver’s business life, aesthetics, and overall appearance as a destination.
The sidewalk improvements, part of another Indiana Department of Transportation grant under Safe Routes to School, was the result of a collaboration between the town and Culver Community Schools. The $250,000 for the project, says Doss, is 100 percent reimbursable and required no funding from the town.
Some $20,000 or more will likely be saved by the town partnering with Marshall County on replacement of Lake Maxinkuckee’s west shore outlet culvert (see the Town Council article in this edition), notes Doss, and the town is coordinating with the county highway department, Indiana Department of Transportation, and Culver’s Second Century Committee on placing of Culver bicycle route signs in town and around Lake Maxinkuckee, a move aimed at improving safety as well as emphasizing Culver as a business and tourist destination.
In the vein of savings to citizens, Doss adds mention of the July kickoff of Culver’s town-wide trash service, which he says saves residents $180 to $200 per year on average, in addition to the per-dollar amount mentioned above from grant monies.
Doss looks over a list of 19 major projects, developed late in 2009 by members of Culver’s Town Council, and notes only five remain incomplete. In addition to the projects mentioned above, others already brought into reality in 2010 include annexation of around 88 acres of land for future light commercial and residential development, with extension of sewer lines to the area; development of a Garden Court senior living apartment facility (planned for construction on the annexed land); and obtaining GIS software to begin mapping infrastructure and utilities. Doss and Council members are still working towards grant funding of a major overhaul of Culver’s west end storm water system.
If 2010’s track record for Doss and town leaders is any indication, that “wish list” of projects may just wind up pretty close to empty by this time next year.