WARSAW — Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer received a phone call this morning, Tuesday, April 5, he was happy to receive. The call was from Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb stating the city was named a finalist in the Indiana Stellar Community Designee program. “I’m pretty happy,” said Thallemer. This is the second year the city has submitted an application for the Stellar Communities Program.
“The City of Warsaw is honored to be named a finalist and compete for the award of Indiana Stellar Community Designee. That designation would accelerate our neighborhood revitalization commitment to the Market Street corridor and Argonne Road, connecting our downtown with the Town of Winona Lake. We will continue to work diligently with Winona Lake and all of our community partners through the Stellar process. As a finalist, we have all shown commitment to improving the quality of life for our great Warsaw community and hope to be awarded the Stellar designation. Most important, however, our efforts to our citizens and their neighborhoods will continue forward whatever the outcome,” said Thallemer.
The city will be participating in a finalist workshop on April 21 to learn about the next steps and the investment plans. The city will also be receiving $15,000 to create that plan, which is due July 1. The state team will visit each finalist community to physically look at the project area, hear about the finalist community’s presentation and to ask questions about the strategic investment plan. The visit could last up to three hours.
Warsaw is one of three finalist in Division 1, others include Rushville and Shelbyville. FInalist in Division 2 include Corydon, Culver and Union City.
“Cities and towns across Indiana continue to benefit from a strong business climate that makes them attractive places to live, work, and play, and the Stellar Communities Designation Program remains an important catalyst fostering local economic growth,” said Holcomb. “I congratulate this year’s six finalists for taking this pivotal step of identifying key projects in line with their assets and visions for the future. I look forward to visiting each of the finalist communities over the next few months to see firsthand the state and local collaborations helping our hometowns thrive well into the future.”
Finalist communities are separated into a division based on their population. division 1 is for communities with populations 6,000–50,000 and division 2 is for populations 5,999 and below.
Ten communities submitted proposals for the 2016 SCDP. After evaluating the letters of interest, the top six communities were chosen as finalists.
Launched in 2011, the Stellar Communities Destination Program is a multi-agency partnership designed to rcognize Indiana’s smaller communities that have identified comprehensive community and economic development projects and activities as well as next steps and key partnerships. Since 2010, over 60 Hoosier communities have expressed interest in the program and 21 strategic investment plans have been created.
The program was orignaled by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Indiana Department of Transportation. Other partners now include Indiana Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Indiana Office of Tourism Development, Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Finance Authority, Indiana State Department of Health, Serve Indiana, Indiana Arts Commission and Indiana Bond Bank,
Previous Stellar Communities: 2011 – North Vernon and Greencastle; 2012 – Princeton and Delphi; 2013 – Richmond and Bedford; 2014 – Huntingburg and Wabash; and 2015 – Crawfordsville and North Liberty.