Culver Town staff and elected officials have received a lot of questions about progress on the Stellar Communities efforts since receiving designation in November, and while they try to post relevant updates on the Stellar Communities Facebook page, Johathan Leist said, “We realize that keeping citizens informed about the Stellar Projects is important, and town staff will continue to provide updates in a variety of forums, including notices like this one.”
The Stellar Communities designation program provides a four-year window for the Town of Culver to use funding made available from state agencies including the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). Currently, it does not appear likely that any additional Stellar funding will be available for projects outside of the scope originally included in Culver’s Stellar Strategic Investment Plan, which included Sand Hill Farms Housing, Beach Lodge Renovation, Lake Maxinkuckee Bike and Pedestrian Trail Phase II, State Road 10 Sidewalks, West Jefferson Street Gateway, Lake Maxinkuckee Programming, and Cavalier Park projects. These projects alone total over $5,000,000 in grant funding available to the Town of Culver through Stellar Communities.
Since designation, the efforts as a Stellar Community have focused on moving forward with the projects funded by OCRA from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), including: the Beach Lodge Renovation, park accessibility and programming, and Cavalier Park. At the same time, complimentary projects moving forward currently include: Lake Maxinkuckee Trail Phase I, The Damore Amphitheater, and the Big Letter Sign and History Display in Culver Park.
OCRA funded projects have special requirements to receive funding, including that the project meets one of the national objectives for the CDBG program. Leist said, “We have put together our projects based on the national objective of serving low to moderate income residents, based on an income survey of Culver that was conducted in 2014.”
Presently, the committee expects the park programming and Cavalier Park grant applications to get approved for construction in late summer or fall of 2018. The beach lodge renovation project may require additional review from state agencies, as the building itself may be subject to historical review from the state’s historic preservation office, and the timing of that project is still subject to change.
Other items of noted related to our Stellar Communities efforts:
- Plans for Lake Maxinkuckee programming and accessibility and Cavalier Park have not been changed significantly from the Stellar Strategic Investment plan submitted in 2017.
- Town staff has been looking at alternatives to the Beach Lodge Renovation plans that were presented in 2017 due to an availability of more CDBG funding than was originally anticipated.
- The final town plan for the projects will be presented at a public hearing later this spring.
- A project overview for each of the OCRA projects will be submitted on February 16 to state agencies for environmental and historical preservation review, and we will receive a response back on these projects around March 20.
- INDOT funded projects will have funds available for construction in July 2021, but preliminary work on those projects will begin later 2018 or early 2019.
- Sand Hill Farm Phase II, which will include apartments for low to moderate income residents, is currently scheduled to begin after the completion of Phase I, which began construction in late 2017.
If you have questions about these projects or the Stellar Communities process, please contact Jonathan Leist, Town Manager at 842-3140.