A project more than 20 years in the making now has some state money behind it.

Today, Nashville was awarded one of four grants for Place Based Investments from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development and Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

The $50,000 will go toward the Village Green Revitalization Project, to create a “fun, interactive play area and gathering space in the center of downtown Nashville,” the grant award reads.

The centerpiece will be a “play area for all ages,” with landscaping, seating and small play elements geared for young children.

Town leaders first started talking about putting restrooms and a play space downtown in 1989, according to meeting minutes collected by the Village Green play space committee.

The restrooms, on the southeast corner of the Village Green, will open this weekend in the former Brown County Public Library building. A “first flush” ceremony is scheduled for noon Friday.

Now that the grant funding is certain, the play space project must be completed within 18 months.

Another in a series of meetings on the concept will take place at 5:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday, May 5) at the library.

According to the grant application, other possible phases of the overall revitalization include restoring the town pump and adding a child-friendly water feature; installing decorative crosswalks among the corners; and adding a kiosk to cross-promote events in the state park, Yellowwood State Forest and Hoosier National Forest.

The town, the Rotary Club of Brown County, the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Brown County Community Foundation have all pledged money and/or other forms of support.

Now in its fourth year, the Place Based Investment Fund program is a competitive matching grant program intended to help with initiatives that promote quality of life, improve tourism experiences and develop multi-purpose gathering places.

Other projects which received funding were constructing a pier in Cicero; revitalizing the Old Town Junction in Daleville; and creating a plaza for farmers markets and festivals in LaPorte.

“This fund was designed to reward creativity and community ingenuity, and the winning projects are terrific examples of those qualities,” said Mark Newman, IOTD executive director, in a press release.

“High quality of life is a trademark of Indiana communities all across the state, and local leaders know better than anyone how to enhance and promote their appeal,” said Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb in a press release. “We look forward to continued collaboration with the winners and are excited to see the results of their PBIF awards.”

Read other stories about this project at the “Village Green” tab below.

Sara Clifford has been raising a family in Brown County since 2005 and leading the Brown County Democrat since late 2009. In addition to editor, she is the beat reporter for town government and writes columns, features and general news stories.