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Stellar Communities Designation Program

Launched in 2011, the Stellar Communities Designation Program is a multi-agency partnership designed to recognize Indiana's smaller communities that have identified comprehensive community and economic development projects and activities as well as next steps and key partnerships.

Through annual designation the Stellar Communities Designation Program provides resources for transformative quality of place community improvements by:

  • Utilizing previous planning efforts
  • Leveraging existing assets
  • Fostering regional investments
  • Stimulating continued growth for long-term relevance

Stellar Communities was recognized nationally as a premier community development program when it received the 2012 President's Award for Innovation from the Council of State Community Development Agencies (COSCDA).

To date, more than 60 communities have participated in the process; 25 have completed Strategic Investment Plans, and 12 have received the Stellar Communities Designation. 

2017 Stellar Designees -  Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch announced that the City of Madison and the Town of Culver are the 2017 Designees of the Stellar Communities Designation Program (SCDP).

Between May and October, representatives from the State Team visited all six finalist communities where they heard highlights from each local team as well as toured project locations from their local Strategic Investment Plans (SIP).

“The hard work, dedication, and passion the six finalist communities demonstrated throughout this process was clearly seen firsthand by the Stellar team during the site visits.” said Lt. Governor Crouch. “Each community demonstrated their capacity to strengthen local and regional partnerships in reaching transformative outcomes in their respective communities.”   

Launched in 2011, the SCDP is a multi-agency partnership designed to recognize Indiana's smaller communities that have identified comprehensive community and economic development projects and activities as well as next steps and key partnerships. The designations are separated into two divisions based on population size. Division I are communities of a population of 6,000 or more and Division II are smaller cities and towns with populations of fewer than 6,000. 

2017 Division I Designee -
City of Madison
Madison’s SIP includes the Madison Connector, a bike and pedestrian trail connecting Madison destinations; adaptive re-use of historic buildings; creation of a mixed-use facility in a former cotton mill; improvement of a riverfront park; over hauling the community gateways and neighborhood revitalization.

2017 Division II Designee -  
Town of Culver
Culver’s SIP focuses on creating workforce housing with the Sand Hill Farm Development, expanding the Lake Maxinkuckee bike and pedestrian trail, renovating the local landmark Beach Lodge, and improving the western gateway into Culver to create an appealing multi-modal corridor into the town.

Seven communities submitted letters of interest (LOIs) for the 2017 Stellar Communities Designation Program. Of those seven, six communities were chosen as finalists, received planning grants and were required to submit local Strategic Investment Plans. The SIPs detail the projects, partnerships and proposed sources of funding based on feedback and input from the local community. The next step was the site visits which were conducted by the Stellar Team, comprised of staff representing the partnering agencies.

On October 25th, a Stellarbration hosted by Lt. Governor Crouch, will be held at the Indiana Statehouse to celebrate the 2017 Designees. The event will include presentations from Madison and Culver.

Stellar Communities Designees:

  • 2011: Greencastle & North Vernon
  • 2012: Delphi & Princeton
  • 2013: Bedford & Richmond  
  • 2014: Huntingburg & Wabash
  • 2015: D1 - Crawfordsville & D2 - North Liberty
  • 2016: D1 - Corydon & D2 - Rushville
  • 2017: D1 - Madison & D2 - Culver

The Sagamore Institute has been engaged to investigate and provide an ongoing report on the lessons learned and successes of this program. Their reports can be found at

Questions about the program may be emailed to the Stellar Team:

2017 Stellar Communities Designation Program Dates
  • 10/18/17                Stellar Designees Announced
  • 10/25/17                Stellar Celebration
  • 11/8/17                  Stellarbration Division II
  • 11/15/17                Stellarbration Division I
  • 11/28/17                Stellar Kick Off Meeting
  • 11/29/17                Stellar Kick Off Meeting​