Entities involved Starke County’s Stellar efforts are currently working to update their comprehensive plans to meet a program requirement set by the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
Applicants can submit a letter of intent for this round of OCRA’s Regional Stellar Communities program any time between now and Friday, April 5th. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Larry Wickert said that the current plan is to apply by this spring’s deadline.
However, he said the region’s readiness will be determined as Hamlet, North Judson and Starke County officials work on their comprehensive plans. All three entities will be working with HWC Engineering. Not only will this allow for general consistency but it will give officials a chance to spot similar goals throughout the process.
The City of Knox is also involved in Starke County’s Stellar initiative but they already have a viable comprehensive plan in place.
If Starke County’s region does submit a letter of intent for this round officials would find out in they’ve been selected as a finalist in May. Despite the fact that the application deadline is coming up in less than four months, Wickert said that individual comprehensive plans wouldn’t need to be completed until the fall.
At that time, the details laid out in each local plan would be incorporated into a regional development plan. The regional development plan would identify potential projects and the goals of the region as a whole.
The regional development plan would be due in September and it would only need to be submitted if Starke County’s region is selected as one of the finalists.