Constellation of Starke Reaches Finalist Round of Regional Stellar Communities Designation Program

The Constellation of Starke Stellar Leadership Team shot for the stars with their letter of intent and made it!

Shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday morning, members were informed that Starke County is a finalist in the Regional Stellar Communities Designation Program.

Executive Director of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs Jodi Golden delivered the good news, noting that the County’s letter of intent (LOI) succeeded in emphasizing localism as well as regionalism.  

Program Manager Michael Sinnet echoed Golden’s comments and added that the hard work that went into the LOI was absolutely evident.

He noted that after reviewing their submission, OCRA officials, as well as representatives the Indiana Arts Commission and Indiana Tourism are looking to provide some feedback. Sinnet said a meeting with those organizations will be arranged within the next few weeks.

Sinnet also reminded the team members that as a finalist, Constellation of Starke is now eligible for $20,000 in planning grants. He noted they will receive 50 percent of that in mid-July and the remainder will be available once the regional development plan is submitted in September.

Being a finalist also allows officials to utilize the Ball State Indiana Communities Institute to gain some perspective about the community as they vie for a designation.

Moving forward, the county and the towns of Hamlet and North Judson will continue to work on their comprehensive plans and Starke’s Stellar Team will begin preparing a regional development plan.

Public input will be an integral part of this process so community members should keep an eye out for announcements about future Stellar meetings.

The Constellation of Starke includes the county itself, as well as the Towns of Hamlet and North Judson and the City of Knox.

Other finalists include Jay! Region, which is comprised of Dunkirk, Portland, Pennville, Redkey and Jay County, the group Safe and Welcome, which is made up of Knightstown, New Castle and Henry County and Marshall County Crossroads, which includes Argos, Bourbon, Bremen, Culver, Plymouth and Marshall County.

The Stellar Communities Program is a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment initiative led by the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

According to a press release from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, the goal of the program is to work with self-selected regions on their vision for community and economic development, promote local and regional partnerships and assist in implementing innovative solutions to challenges facing Indiana’s rural communities.

The 2019 Stellar Communities Program designation announcement will be made on December 5th.