The Regional Development Plan was submitted by today’s deadline by Constellation of Starke officials in the Regional Stellar Communities Designation Program.
Throughout the process, Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Larry Wickert told the county council and commissioners this week that he’s happy to see the collaboration of all of the municipalities and unincorporated areas in this process.
“Once we got into it, everyone was on the same page and we’re all trying to do the same thing and cheer each other on. The unincorporated communities were reluctant at first, but they jumped right on board and they’ve all been very excited about this,” commented Wickert.
Several projects are proposed for each municipality and unincorporated area in the county. All units have committed funding to support the goals in the Regional Development Plan over the course of four years.
The Stellar designee will be announced in December. The other competitors are the Marshall County Crossroads which consists of Argos, Bourbon, Bremen, Culver, Plymouth and Marshall County; Jay! Region which is comprised of the Dunkirk, Portland, Pennville, Redkey and Jay County, and Safe and Welcome, which includes Knightstown, New Castle and Henry County.
If Constellation of Starke is deemed the winner, about $16 million in funds will go toward projects outlined in the plan. If Starke County is not selected as the designee, about $333,000 will be awarded to the county as a finalist. The Stellar committee can decide later how that money will be appropriated.