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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, April 26, 2018 1:00 am

NewAllen proposal makes final 6

County's eastern communities vie for millions


A proposal by the NewAllen Alliance is one of six still in the running in the statewide Indiana Regional Stellar Communities competition, which will award millions in state funding largely to rural areas.

NewAllen in March submitted a proposal on behalf of unincorporated areas of eastern Allen County and Grabill, Harlan, Hoagland, Leo-Cedarville, Monroeville, New Haven and Woodburn.

Winners will be selected Nov. 27 after a more detailed application submission in September and a subsequent presentation to a panel of state officials, said Kristi Sturtz, NewAllen's rural liaison.

A win would mean up to $40 million in aid for projects including downtown revitalizations, housing, and sidewalk, trail and park improvements, she said.

Kent Castleman, NewAllen board chairman, said winning would result in being able to move forward with ideas already generated by the East Allen communities.

“So many times, plans lie on a shelf and struggle to be implemented in small communities with little (paid) staff and financial resources,” he said.

Funding available through the program includes $4.5 million in Community Development block grants, $2 million in rural transportation funds and $800,000 in housing tax credits, Sturtz said. Local community resources, countywide funding partners, and private donations and investment will be needed to provide matching and leveraging funds needed to complete a competitive application, Sturtz said.

If the proposal is selected, the communities would have four years to complete projects, she said.

A definitive list of projects has yet to be developed, Sturtz said. But it likely would include park improvements around the new community center in New Haven, the Cedar Creek Parks Trail that would connect six parks in Cedar Creek Township, and independent-living housing for seniors eligible for low-income tax credits, Sturtz said.