New Allen Alliance selected as 2018 Stellar Community

Congratulations to the New Allen Alliance, a coalition of communities in east Allen County, which has been designated as an Indiana 2018 Stellar Community.

Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch announced that the New Allen Alliance was one of two regions in Indiana, designated to receive $4.5 million each from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural affairs. The other selection was the Health and Heritage region. Both will receive additional money from the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

Grabill, Leo-Cedarville, Monroeville, New Haven, Woodburn and Allen County comprise the region designated as the New Allen Alliance. Greenfield, Fortville and Hancock County make up the Health and Heritage region. The two selections were among five 2018 finalists, that included Eastern Indiana (town of Liberty, cities of Richmond, Rushville and Union City, and Randolph County); Marshall County Crossroads (towns of Argos, Bremen, Bourbon, Culver, LaPaz and Plymouth and Marshall County); and Mt. Comfort Road Corridor (towns of Cumberland, McCordsville and New Palestine).

The Stellar Communities Program is a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment initiative led by OCRA. The program works with communities in developing regional development plans, promoting local and regional partnerships and increasing economic development.

“Stellar applicants were given a unique task this year, and that was to partner with their neighboring communities to come up with a plan that can benefit a larger range of Hoosiers,” Crouch said in the Dec. 11 announcement. “Through this collaboration, brilliant ideas came forth, and I cannot wait to see their plans come to life.”

The New Allen Alliance plan that will be implemented through Stellar funding will focus on increasing economic growth, while also developing the quality of place in their area.

“So many times, plans lay on a shelf and struggle to be implemented in small communities with little staff and financial resources,” New Allen Board Chairman Kent Castleman said in a statement earlier last year. “This Stellar Designation brings the talent and resources of the small communities, many of whom are volunteers, together with county, state and federal resources for a bigger impact.”

The designations of Stellar programs are awarded annually “to provide resources for transformative quality of place community improvements, by using previous planning efforts, leveraging existing assets, fostering regional investments and stimulating continued growth,” according to the OCRA website.

More information about the program can be found online at in.gov/ocra/stellar, including details about the 2019 Stellar Communities Program, which were released this week. Indiana’s OCRA announced Monday that it is now accepting letters of intent for the Stellar Communities Program from other interested communities. Letters of Intent are due by April 5 at 4 p.m.

The value of the program goes beyond just the communities who receive the funding through their selections. Each region benefits by going through the process of preparing a regional development plan.

“These plans are the representation of partnerships and collaborations strengthened through core values, shared vision and proactive planning,” said OCRA Executive Director Jodi Golden.

To see the New Allen Alliance’s comprehensive plan, go online to https://www.in.gov/ocra/stellar.htm and click on the New Allen Alliance link to its PDF.

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