Decatur a finalist to receive millions for downtown revitalization

DECATUR, Ind. (WANE) – The city of Decatur is one of six Indiana communities that have been named a finalist for the 2014 Stellar Communities Program. It’s a program that’s made of a few state agencies that goes after federal and state funding for certain city redevelopment projects.

Staffs of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Indiana Housing and Community Development and Indiana Department of Transportation make up the committee that selects which cities are chosen for this program. Indiana cities with a population of 50,000 or less are eligible for this funding.

The city of Decatur submitted a five page letter of interest to the state agencies with the help of Sturtz Public Management Group. The letter highlighted what areas the city would like to revitalize.

“Our focus has really been on the quality of life piece, and kind of revitalizing our downtown area,” said Cameron Collier, Decatur city council member.

Kristi Sturtz, president of Sturtz Public Management Group, said Decatur should highlight key elements already in place to make their bid more competitive.

“There’s the Decatur Sculpture Tour that has been highly successful and is gaining in popularity every year,” Sturtz said.

Collier said city officials support the efforts of highlighting the arts throughout the city. He said it promotes creativity, which will spark innovation and lead to economic development.

“Decatur has a plan, it has a vision, and we know who we are and who we desire to be,” he said.

The city of Decatur could receive $14.5 million in federal and state funding, but the city must come up with 20 percent of that.

Other cities and towns selected as finalists for the program are Huntingburg, Marion, Mount Vernon, Nashville and Wabash. These cities will now have to submit a more in-depth plan on how the funds will be used. Two finalists will be selected by late summer to get funding.

Those two finalists will have three years to complete their projects.

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