North Judson officials confirmed that they will be joining the Regional Stellar Communities effort during Monday night’s town council meeting.
During last week’s informational meeting about the Regional Stellar program at the Starke County Economic Development Foundation, OCRA Representative Gerry White shared that two of the basic requirements include the submission of income survey and a comprehensive plan.
He said in order to have an official comprehensive plan drawn up, it costs approximately $50,000. However, he mentioned that assistance is available to communities that have a certain portion of the population that is considered low-income.
At Monday night’s town council meeting, Clerk-Treasurer Rowe mentioned the potential assistance that the town could receive to help finance the creation of a comprehensive plan. He explained that OCRA would cover $45,000 and the Town would just need to come up with the remaining money.
He noted that this seemed like a pretty rare opportunity to access the resources needed to get a good plan in place that would outline future projects and goals.
He told members, “Worst case scenario, is to have something to look to and to work from, especially with the opportunity for us to get this done for $5,000 at a cost of $50,000.” Clerk-Treasurer Rowe continued, “In the future, going a different route I don’t think it would be possible to get that much of a break.”
The other members who attended the Stellar meeting, Vice President John Rowe and Council Members Jane Ellen Felchuck and James Young added that they were also on board and felt this would be a good step for North Judson to take. The council then voted unanimously to proceed with the process.
The decision was finalized after Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe alerted Starke County Executive Director Larry Wickert on Tuesday.
Wickert says that North Judson officials are now free to begin the process. He added that North Judson officials already have one of the requirements covered since they had to conduct an income survey prior to undertaking their water and wastewater projects.
Now they just need to start reaching out to the necessary resources in order to get started on comprising a comprehensive plan for the town.