State accepts ‘stellar communities’ applications

By Jesselyn Bickley

INDIANAPOLIS – Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann is accepting letters of interest from local units of government that want to apply for the 2013 Stellar Communities Program. The application deadline is 5 p.m. March 1.

Stellar Communities is a combination effort of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority  and the Indiana Department of Transportation. The program has been working for three years to bring major funding sources to Indiana to make it possible for communities to achieve long-term comprehensive strategic goals.

“The Stellar Communities program is a nationally recognized, one-of-a-kind, initiative,” Ellspermann said.

She said the program is highly competitive and focuses on helping communities make changes that benefit residents and that make the community more attractive for future investments.

To be considered for Stellar Communities, the local government must be eligible to apply for community development block grants.

To submit a letter of interest, communities must:

  • Have a comprehensive community plan or a similar planning document approved by the participating agencies that was completed within the past three to five years.
  • Submit current council adoption document.
  • Submit a 3-5 page letter of interest signed by the local unit of government’s highest elected official.
  • Complete the Stellar Communities information sheet.
  • Submit a clear map of the community.

Submitted letters of interest will be evaluated by the following criteria:

  • Regional value-added impact and attraction of future investment
  • Reasonableness of scope of project
  • Financial viability
  • Resource availability and utilization of leveraged community assets
  • Coordinated approach in multi-project management
  • Documented and demonstrated capacity to complete proposed activities, including the ability to submit a response to a request for proposal, if selected as a finalist
  • If a community was a previous finalist, discussion of how the strategic investment plan has worked and justification for a new strategic investment plan

Submit PDF letters to or mail five copies and original to Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Stellar Communities Pilot Program, Attn: Beth Dawson, One North Capitol, Suite 600, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

Further information will be provided during an informational forum from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 21. The event will be at The Garrison at Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park in Indianapolis.

Jesselyn Bickley is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.  

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