Decatur could get millions of dollars for redevelopment

DECATUR, Ind. (WANE) – Decatur is one of six finalist communities competing to participate in Indiana’s Stellar Communities Program. The program will give millions of dollars to two cities for city redevelopment in a couple weeks.

The program gives opportunities to two communities a year to align federal funding given by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Indiana Department of Transportation and Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority with local public and private investment in a targeted area of the community.

As a part of the program, cities have to provide plans on how the money will be used. City leaders have released the following list of how the funding will be used to renovate parts of the Decatur:

  • Modifying the Monroe Street Bridge over the St. Mary’s River with lighting, artistic enhancements and an enhanced pedestrian bridge element,
  • An extension of the Rivergreenway Trail within the downtown including a Trailhead Vista along the western riverfront of the St. Mary’s River,
  • A new roundabout with entryway enhancements at the Five Points Intersection,
  • Creation of a pedestrian corridor along Adams Street from 1stto 7th Streets,
  • Downtown perimeter sidewalk improvements along 7thStreet and Monroe Street from 7th to the Monroe Street Bridge,
  • Façade and streetscape improvements,
  • Owner occupied housing rehabilitation in the neighborhood west and north of downtown,
  • Rehabilitation of the historic Interurban Building on 2ndStreet into artist lofts and commercial space,
  • Development of a Creative Engagement Center with additional artist loft housing along the western riverfront adjacent to the Trailhead Vista.

Mayor John Schultz said the Decatur community has come forward and supported the process since the beginning.

“It ended up being was involvement, it ended up being creating excitement for our community, involvement from different people that were never involved in government programs,” he said.

Greg Kitson is a local business owner and serves as a member of the city’s plan commission. He said it’s been difficult to get new businesses and young professionals to come to Decatur because the lack of redevelopment. Kitson said the program has helped the city move in a direction of being able to compete against other smaller cities for young talent and new businesses.

“Stellar has given us a framework that allows us to put together that framework or that building block for the future,” said Kitson.

Decatur’s plan is proposing $21 million in state and local match investment through the Stellar Communities program to be completed over a four year period. Together with planned complementary projects, the total investment into the City of Decatur’s downtown tops $39 Million dollars. Stellar Program Awards will be announced in August at the Indiana State Fair.

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