2012-02-29 / Front Page

Delphi in the final running to be ‘Stellar Community’

Comet staff report

Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman announced Delphi is among seven Hoosier communities selected as finalists in the highly competitive “Stellar Communities” program. The program was launched last year to fund comprehensive community development projects in Indiana’s smaller cities and towns.

“Each of the finalists demonstrated a comprehensive plan with the potential to transform their community,” said Skillman in a press release issued Monday. “Only two will be our next Stellar Communities, but all seven will benefit from the long-term strategic planning.”

Finalists along with Delphi include the cities of Auburn, Crawfordsville, Petersburg, Princeton, Richmond and the town of Whitestown. Each finalist community will receive $10,000 to prepare an in-depth “Strategic Investment Plan” proposal and will also participate in a site visit with the state selection team. The finalist communities will be announced as this year’s Stellar Communities in May.

The State’s Stellar Communities program is a partnership between three state agencies - the Indiana Housing and Community Development

Authority, Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and Indiana Department of Transportation. Selected communities will complete multiple community development projects funded by the three partner agencies’ programs, which may address housing, water infrastructure needs, street and roadwork, streetscape and lighting needs, community centers, revitalization projects, and other quality of life issues.

Carroll County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Laura Walls said in a separate press release that Delphi Mayor Randy Strasser submitted a letter of intent earlier this month highlighting the city’s plans to reinvest in Downtown Delphi and its historic neighborhoods while providing infrastructure to support new jobs stemming from the Hoosier Heartland Highway.

“The City of Delphi has planned for the future and the development opportunities that the Hoosier Heartland Highway presents,” she quoted Strasser. “Our collaborative partnership is a good fit for this unique, multi-agency program, and we look forward to presenting a strong, unified application to compete for these critical dollars.”

Walls explained that the Stellar Communities application will include projects in Downtown Delphi, including the restoration of the Delphi Opera House. Delphi Preservation Society partnered on the grant application.

Walls reported that DPS Opera House Chair Anita Werling said her group is proud to continue their partnership with the City of Delphi to revitalize Downtown Delphi. She indicated that DPS will offer a portion of the local match for the Stellar Communities grant to carry on the restoration of the Delphi Opera House.

Walls reported that City Council President Carolyn Pearson said that the city council is honored to be a finalist for Stellar Communities. She said the city has been pro-active in planning, including the recent completion of the Hoosier Heartland Development Plan. The Stellar Communities designation will make Delphi more competitive for future development projects and improve the quality of life for the nearly 3,000 Delphi residents.

“The City of Delphi blossomed as a canal town, a hub for commerce and transporting goods,” Walls said. “The Hoosier Heartland Highway will again put Delphi on the map as a hub for commerce ideal for transporting and distributing goods. The infrastructure projects near the Hoosier Heartland Highway will lead to new jobs and investment.”

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