MARSHALL COUNTY — Lieutentant Governor Suzanne Crouch announced Marshall County Crossroads as the Stellar Communities 2019 Designee Thursday, Dec. 5. Marshall County Crossroads was one of four finalists for 2019. after dedication and collaboration, a room full of community leaders received good news during the phone call shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday morning announcing their success.
Martin Oosterbaan, Chair, Communications and Marketing Committee said, “This is big. Stellar is a nationally recognized community development program that has won the President’s award for Innovation. I’m thrilled for Marshall County and confident in our ability to make the most of it.”
Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter said, “This is a well deserved honor by one awesome team of community leaders! Many of them put their heart & soul into this application for two whole years. Now the real fun begins to try and push our projects forward. We want to thank OCRA and their team for giving us a second listen.”
Culver Town Manager Jonathan Leist said, “I definitely had a feeling of déjà vu today, sitting at the county building with all the team members waiting on the phone call. This was our fourth time of going through the process for Ginny Munroe and I and a few others that had participated in both of Culver’s applications and both regional applications. For me, it was just as nerve wracking today as the other three times.
It always feels better to be designated than not, and I know all of us that worked so hard on these projects to improve quality of life in our hometowns, by focusing on everything from housing to transportation, jobs, education, public health, the arts, tourism and more— we’re just so excited that the state has chosen to partner with us over the next four years and help us bring these projects to life!
I’m excited for our county, the progress we’ve made, and the great projects we will have a chance to complete in the next four years because of this designation. I’m so proud of all the members of the county team, and appreciate of all the time and effort that everyone put into it. The leadership team did a great job of casting a wider net this year, bringing in a larger, more diverse group, and collecting input and feedback from residents of every community this summer. They are a truly talented group of people with a tremendous passion for improving our hometowns. as always, I am personally excited about the potential for new projects in Culver too, and the chance to work with our residents, town officials, employees, and state agencies to improve quality of life for our community.”
Randy Danielson, Co-chair, The REES Project Committee said, “The REES is of course pleased to have been selected as just one of the hallmark projects that will elevate the level of arts and culture throughout Marshall County. This places us in a favorable position to close the remaining gap in funding over the next few months in order that the final phase of construction may proceed in 2020. We recognize the
strength and resiliency this leadership group has displayed in attaining this designation and for that, we are forever grateful.”
Project Manager, Leadership Capacity Chair Ginny Bess Munroe said, “As someone who has worked with the Stellar program for four years (as both a Council member and as the Community Development Manager for Troyer Group), it’s such a thrill to see Marshall County succeed at achieving a designation. Regional work takes a lot of collaboration and it requires communities to think outside of their jurisdictional boundaries and silos. We also had to engage with our communities and underrepresented populations to try to learn about what they thought of quality of life in Marshall County. Doing this type of collaboration and engagement helped us create the Great Hometowns: One Vision. Working with the Marshall County Crossroads team as their Community Development Manager was a great honor because I got to be part of a team that doesn’t give lip service to collaboration. They actually did it and seeing them awarded for it is such a thrilling feeling.
We have a Quality of Life Plan in the works in addition to our Stellar Regional Development Plan. These plans will keep the momentum of this win going. This team is going to have an impact and knowing how we set up our team to be sustainable, I cannot wait to see what the future brings even beyond a Stellar designation. The future is bright for our County and the people we serve.”
The region mission / vision statement for Marshall County Crossroads reads, “A collaboration of leaders from across the region that engages with and inspires our communities to connect, collaborate, and create high-quality hometowns. This will be done by creating healthy, livable, thriving and sustainable communities that provide residents of all ages, races and genders the highest quality of life.”
Lt. Governor Crouch makes announcement: CONTENT PROVIDED
INDIANAPOLIS – Today, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch announced Marshall County Crossroads as the 2019 Stellar Communities Designee.
“I am so proud of Marshall County Crossroads and the work they have done to improve the quality of life for all their residents, and to attract new visitors,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch. “This designation will further boost their continued development efforts, strengthen their regional partnerships and, ultimately, bring their innovative ideas to life.”
Launched in 2011, the Stellar Communities Program is a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment initiative led by the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and is overseen by Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch. The program works in coordination with communities to create regional development plans, promote local and regional partnerships and implement comprehensive solutions to regional challenges.
In April, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced a change to the Stellar Communities Program. Following a thorough review of the regional pilot program and with the goal to create the greatest transformational impact, the program now designates one region per year. While the majority of the available resources will be allocated to the designated region, the non-designated finalist regions are also eligible to receive a portion of $1 million, to be used towards the advancement of their regional development plans.
“These plans are the representation of partnerships and collaborations strengthened through core values, shared vision and proactive planning,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “It is our hope that all participating regions benefit from this planning process.”
Marshall County Crossroads is comprised of the Towns of Argos, Bourbon, Bremen, Culver, Lapaz, Plymouth and Marshall County. Their plan states that “Great hometowns are the mission and quality of life is the vision.” This will be accomplished by creating a quality of life plan that envisions Marshall County in 20 years; and by being more inclusive to include additional community organizations and initiatives.
Funding made available for the Stellar Communities designated region is derived from multiple existing state agency and federal programs. Marshall County Crossroads has proposed projects involving public and private dollars, and will meet with representatives from the state Stellar Team in the coming weeks to discuss details, including project feasibility, available funding, timeframes and partner participation. Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development will also assist the designee with long-term sustainability efforts and project implementation.
Crouch and state team members will travel to Marshall County to participate in a local “Stellarbration” with regional committee members on December 19.
Golden said OCRA will continue to be a resource for the finalists, and encouraged them to continue moving forward with their proposed Regional Development Plans.
Through the annual designation, the Stellar Communities Program provides resources for transformative quality of place community improvements by utilizing previous planning efforts, leveraging existing assets, fostering regional investments and stimulating continued growth. For more program information, visit www.in.gov/ocra/stellar.htm.