Last week WTCA announced that that Marshall County Crossroads region has been announced as a finalist for the 2018 Stellar Communities Program. Additional information is now available about this collation. The region applying consists of leaders from Marshall County, Argos, Bremen, Bourbon, Culver, LaPaz, and Plymouth. The Stellar Communities program is a multi-agency, multi-year investment initiative that is overseen by Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and it works with communities to develop strategic investment plans, strategic regional partnerships, and solutions to overcome the challenges communities face.
In 2017, the Town of Culver was designated as a Stellar Community. This brings millions of dollars to Culver’s Stellar plan as well as technical assistance. This year, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, which leads the Stellar program, has expanded the program to cover larger geographical regions, rather than individual towns and cities. This will enhance regional collaborative planning and improve quality of place on a larger scale. Marshall County is one of six regions that have been named a finalist.
County Commissioner Kevin Overmyer says, “I’m excited that our community has been named a Stellar finalist. I believe that going through the Stellar process will bring this county together to achieve outcomes that will benefit everyone. All of the towns and the county want to improve our population stagnation, our declining school population, and our ability to attract and retain a talented workforce. Working together will help us achieve a lot more than we could as individual towns, and leveraging Culver’s recent Stellar Communities designation will help us with the next steps of the process.”
The Stellar Communities program recognizes communities that are planning for the future, developing partnerships to launch those plans, and building on assets that will contribute to the success of those plans. As a finalist, Marshall County is leveraging 6 years of planning through its quarterly economic roundtable meetings know as County Development for the Future. The county is also leveraging 3.5 years of planning through the Regional Cities Initiative and over 2 years through Culver’s own Stellar application process.
Culver Town Council President Ginny Munroe adds, “The process of seeking Culver’s Stellar Communities’ designation required that we bring the whole community together to collaborate on our future. We sought input from residents, businesses, and organizations from across the community. We also partnered with local businesses and organizations, county leaders and organizations, and the schools and township—everyone contributed to our Stellar Communities plan. I think Marshall County will benefit from going through the same process, as it will require collaboration from county and town leaders, county and town organizations, and residents and businesses. As leaders and community engagers, we will engage in regional planning in ways we haven’t done before now. It will change how we think about the region and how our work impacts each other, how we engage in local government work and economic development, and how we engage our residents and businesses.”