Stellar Site Visit Today in Culver

The Town of Culver will welcome officials from the Stellar Communities Designation Program today for the official site visit. The town is a finalist in Division 2 in the Stellar Communities Designation Program.

Town Manager Jonathan Leist said today’s event will take several hours.

“We get about three hours to present information to the state review team that includes representatives from 14 different state agencies,” said Leist. “It’s our chance to bring the plan that we presented to them back in August to life. We’ll show them some of the sites where the projects would take place and sell them on Culver while they’re here.”

Leist commented that they will be showing them the bigger projects within this year’s Stellar application.

“We will take them to, and explain in greater detail, the Sand Hill Farm housing project. There’s a couple of phases to that and we’ve been able to start on the road for phase one. We’ll take them out and show them that. We’ll also show them the Lake Maxinkuckee Bike and Pedestrian Trail. We’ve been able to get started on some of the clearing for that. Work on our beach lodge at the Culver Park – that’s another big one on our project list that we’ll show them in detail.”

Being named a Stellar Community means great opportunities for a town like Culver.

“You basically move to the front of the line for a lot of different options as far as state support over four years. INDOT grant programs, some Community Development Block Grant programs and technical assistance from the agencies involved. They put you in a program where you have quarterly meetings with those organizations along with the other seven Stellar designees that are still going through the implementation phase with the goal being to help you accomplish community development projects in four years that might have taken you 10 to 15 years if you weren’t the designee.”

Leist said even if Culver doesn’t win the designation, the three major projects outlined in the Stellar application will experience forward progress.

“If we don’t receive Stellar designation, we’ll still keep working on those projects. Those are things that we think need to happen that have community support, but won’t happen as fast. We’ll keep plugging away one step at a time in smaller chunks, but we’ll keep working on them.”

He feels great strides have been taken from last year’s application to this year’s application.

“I’m really proud that we can show that we’ve built partners with some other governmental offices and community organizations. We’ve been able to chip away by starting on the road at Sand Hill Farms and the engineering design for water and sewer there. We’ve probably spent about $150,000 on the beach lodge over the last three years just trying to keep the building safe and dry. I think we’ve shown some progress on those projects that the review committee will be excited about and we’re excited about too.”

The Town of Culver just missed being a Stellar Community last year, but officials there have worked hard to win the designation this year over the Town of Churubusco in Whitley County and the City of Union City in Randolph County who are also competing in Division 2.

The official announcement will be made in two weeks.