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State agency seeks Stellar candidates

January 8, 2019

The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs has begun soliciting submissions for its Stellar Communities Program, which emphasizes collaboration in planning efforts between neighboring towns, cities and counties.

The collaborative effort brings together mentorships and partnerships to advance comprehensive solutions to regional and local challenges throughout rural Indiana. All participating communities must commit at least four years to the project.

Allen County has already been selected to benefit from the 1-year-old program.

NewAllen Alliance was named in December as one of the state’s Stellar Communities. The program will provide about 17 million for projects in the local alliance, which comprises Leo-Cedarville, Grabill, Harlan, Woodburn, New Haven, Monroeville and Hoagland.

Jodi Golden, executive director of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, said her office will be available to provide assistance for those who need help with the letter of intent submission process.

Applicants should submit information online. All regions must submit the required documentation by 4 p.m. April 5. A demonstration video is available to help familiarize applicants with the program.

“I want to encourage all communities and counties to apply and especially those with past Stellar designees and finalists,” Golden said. “We received positive feedback from the 2018 finalists that the regional approach allowed for more collaborative possibilities and growth opportunities, and we’re excited to continue that in 2019.”

The Stellar Communities Program is a multiyear, multimillion dollar investment initiative led by Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The program works with communities in developing regional development plans, promoting local and regional partnerships and increasing economic development.

Eligible participants include local units of government that are a county, city or an incorporated town that participate in the Indiana Community Development Block Grant program. Those that are considered a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recognized entitlement community are not eligible.

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