Stellar Communities Designation Program Widens Scope to Encourage Regional Collaboration

Once geared toward individual towns and cities, the Stellar Community Designation Program will now be asking communities to come together to propose regional development plans.

The Stellar Community program, which is offered through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, will now focus on encouraging towns, cities and counties to form partnerships to develop comprehensive solutions to regional and local challenges throughout rural Indiana.

“We believe that it is extremely important that communities work together and that we utilize and combine resources.” Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch explained, “So we’re looking at a lot of our programs and looking at encouraging that collaborative effort.”

Only communities that participate in the state Community Development Block grant program are eligible. Qualified communities include local units of government that are a county, city or an incorporated town that is not currently considered a Housing and Urban Development recognized entitlement community.

All participants are required to commit at least four years to the project. Crouch said with this shift, they’re hoping to encourage neighbors to work together to help attract, retain and develop talent in and around Indiana.

The Lieutenant Governor said, “If we can break down the barriers between communities, everybody benefits”

Although all municipalities are eligible, Crouch said regional mentorship with past Stellar Designees and finalists is highly encouraged.