The Washington Times-Herald

March 20, 2013

Petersburg a 'Stellar' finalist

By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald

PETERSBURG — The city of Petersburg was announced as one of six finalists for the 2013 Stellar Communities grant on Tuesday.

The Pike County seat joins Bedford, Angola, Frankfort, Richmond and Wabash as the finalists for the sizable grant to be awarded to two of the finalists. Petersburg was a finalist for the award in 2012.

"We're very excited about the opportunity to become a finalist," Petersburg mayor Frank Coleman said. "We're looking forward to proceeding with the application. "We're very excited and very hopeful. Our Stellar Community finalists are working hard to create effective community and economic development," Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann said in a release. "Their intense planning and collaborative efforts strive to attract additional investments and improve the quality of life for their hometown residents." The six were chosen out of 24 cities and towns that submitted letters of interest in the grant. Washington was one of the cities that entered.

"The quality of the 24 letters was excellent and it was a difficult decision to narrow the field to six finalists," OCRA Executive Director Dax Norton said in the release. "Many communities diligently worked to improve their prior applications, and new communities stepped forward to be considered." This is the third year of the Stellar Communities award. Princeton and Delphi won it in 2012 and Greencastle and North Vernon won the award in 2011.

To win the award is huge for a community due to the amounts awarded.

Princeton and Delphi will get $20 million in grants over the next three years to do very large projects in their respective cities.

Coleman did not go into detail the projects the city is proposing due to the competition, but said some will focus on "revitalization and redevelopment of our downtown." Coleman took over in January for Jon Craig, who resigned to take a position with the state Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

The program is a joint effort of OCRA, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and the Indiana Department of Transportation.

The finalists will now participate in additional workshops and planning sessions to prepare for a site visit by the award committee in May.

The two winners of the grant will be announced in the summer.