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Stellar Communities effort picks up $20,000 in support
Updated on: 04.07.14

Nashville/Brown County’s quest to become a Stellar Community has picked up thousands of dollars in financial support.

The Nashville Town Council and the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau each kicked in $5,000 toward the presentation the local Stellar committee must make to state officials in six to eight weeks.

The county added $10,000 at a special joint meeting of the county commissioners, county council and county redevelopment commission April 2.

With that money, plus the $10,000 the state gave all six Stellar finalists, the local Stellar committee intends to hire a marketing firm and a design engineering group; produce a video; and illustrate to the state Stellar committee how each project will impact Nashville, Brown County and the surrounding area.

Town council President Bob Kirlin has been calling the three-hour site visit by state Stellar officials our “Super Bowl presentation.”

The example he gave was from Bedford, one of two Stellar winners in 2013. To show what a historic depot would look like if it were moved to a different site, the city rented a semitrailer, placed a giant picture of the depot on it and pulled it into the lot where it was to be moved.

“It’s a very costly thing to put this together if we want to compete with the big boys and do it professionally,” he said.

If all the work pays off, Nashville/Brown County will be rewarded as one of two Stellar Communities for 2014 and have access to millions in federal funds for three years, pooled from state agencies. The contributing offices are the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Indiana Department of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.

That money would go toward a variety of projects: repairing water lines in Nashville; updating the Brown County Courthouse to meet Americans With Disabilities Act requirements; helping develop a 62-unit retirement apartment complex at the Blue Elk site on State Road 46 East; building a community activity building and three softball fields at Deer Run Park; subsidizing essential repairs to private homes near downtown Nashville; installing a metal leaf sculpture downtown; finishing the main line of the Salt Creek Trail; improving the look and traffic flow downtown, and; redoing the facade on the Brown County Playhouse and producing a play about Brown County there.

At the April 2 county meeting, Kirlin explained that town and county leaders chose those from a list of about 40 potential projects. The group had 10 days to put together its Stellar letter of intent.

All projects on the list are ready to be implemented, have partial financial backing and fit into one or more of the following categories: quality of life, economic development or tourism, he said.

Since then, he’s learned about others that would have been a good fit for the Stellar application. He said the list is not set in stone.

The local Stellar committee and the Brown County Chamber of Commerce are planning a public forum at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, at the Brown County Inn.

In addition to gathering input, the meeting’s aim is to gather volunteers. The Stellar committee is trying to get 800 people to sign up to serve on a variety of committees to help prepare for the state committee’s visit. The details of that visit will be set this week.

Though Nashville/Brown County is the smallest community among the six Stellar finalists, Kirlin and other committee members remain hopeful.

He said it was suggested multiple times at state economic development meetings that Nashville apply for the designation.

He said the town council decided to try this time because it secured the cooperation of the county, something that hasn’t always been easy in recent years.

The Stellar committees

Fliers are posted at public buildings to gather volunteers for a variety of committees to help prepare for the site visit:

  • "800 Team": Help pick up and distribute committee sign-up sheets and perform other logistical tasks.
  • Advertising: Create ads, distribute posters and write news releases.
  • Public relations: Meet with and inform the public about the Stellar program and gather letters of support from residents, businesses and community organizations and leaders.
  • Community cleanup: Set a date to clean up the community before the site visit by the state committee.
  • Fundraising: Work to raise money for projects in the Stellar Communities letter of intent besides government dollars.
  • Youth involvement: Make sure all projects involve youth.

The time commitment for committee members is flexible.

To donate to the cause or ask questions, call Bob Kirlin at 988-2227 or Brenda Young at 988-7064.

Hundreds of letters of support also are needed from government boards, clubs, community organizations and individuals. Contact Kirlin or Young for more information about writing a letter.

Obituaries
See Full List »

Karen J. Wampler, 78, Columbus
  Sister of Rod Sanburn of Nashville

Tommie Barger, 72, Morgantown
  Father of Edward Barger of Morgantown

Maurice Wayne Pelley Sr., 83, Gosport
  Father of Shirley Ackerman (husband, Jim) of Nashville

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