Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch has announced the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) and Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) have awarded six communities a grant for quality of place initiatives through the Place Based Investment Fund (PBIF).
The Cities of Greencastle, Tell City, Rockport, and Jeffersonville will each receive grant funds of $50,000 with the City of Shelbyville and Town of Warren receiving $21,200 and $28,800, respectively, to fund public venues and other quality of place projects.
“The Placed Based Investment Fund is a way for the State to come alongside communities working to create and maintain diverse partnerships that help make quality of place projects true community-wide investments,” said Lt. Governor Crouch. “Working amongst a strong partnership between organizations, state and local units of government, and citizens, these communities are able to transform spaces into a place where people want to live, work, and invest.”
This is the fifth year for the competitive matching grant program. PBIF is administered as a partnership between OCRA and IOTD. The grant program supports community and economic development projects across the state. Initiatives that promote quality of life, improve tourism experiences, and develop multi-purpose gathering places are specifically targeted for the grant.
“When we focus on making communities great places to live, it in turn makes them great places to visit,” said Mark Newman, IOTD Executive Director. “The assets and amenities funded through this grant program continue to increase the livability of communities across Indiana while bolstering their tourism capacity at the same time.”
“It is imperative to OCRA that communities see the value in collaborative partnerships,” said Jodi Golden, OCRA Executive Director. “These projects are enhancing cities and towns across Indiana with vital placemaking opportunities that will be local and regional assets for many years to come."
The intended recipients of these grants are performance-based quality of place initiatives that maximize investment and collaboration by local governments, economic development organizations, convention and visitor bureaus, Indiana Main Street organizations, public or private schools, and community foundations. The aim of the program is to provide funding opportunities for unique projects that seek to create jobs and further establish a diverse local, regional, and state economy. For more information visit www.in.gov/ocra/pbif.
Below is a summary of this year’s PBIF recipients:
City of Greencastle: $50,000 - Robe-Ann Park Bandshell
When the frequently used previous bandshell was no longer viable and had to be demolished, the community came together and formed a grass roots committee, bringing together the City and local charitable organizations. This new amphitheater will be constructed of timber and limestone with an elevated concrete stage. The structure draws inspiration from the architectural elements and history of Robe-Ann Park, as well as the surrounding Putnam County. The goal is to serve the community while creating a unique attraction that will invite visitors from west central Indiana to the Greencastle area. This project is a partnership between the Friends of the Park Association of Putnam County, Inc. (FOTP), City of Greencastle, Putnam County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greencastle Civic League, Civil Engineering Consultants, and Scoggins Design, Inc.
City of Jeffersonville: $50,000 - Triangle Play Lot
The Triangle Play Lot will enhance a blighted area, transforming it as part of an Arts and Cultural District. The project encompasses a 60,000 square feet former used car dealership building. They intend to activate the space, which can provide a multitude of amenities for visitors as well as become a quirky destination in its own right. They will be painting numerous giant sized games such as twister, checkers, tic tac toe, and a labyrinth. There will also be a large snake painted with ABC’s and 123’s for learning activities. The lot will also include double swinging benches, numerous umbrellas and shade sails, as well as an extra-long community table for multiple visitors to sit at and play games, have lunch, and many other activities. There will also be amenities such as trash receptacles, electrical outlets, and greenspace that will be created in the south east corner of the lot. The bright, colorful, and funky lot design will be a huge attraction. It will be served by a connector path that links the entire district to the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge and the Ohio River Greenway. This project is a partnership between the City of Jeffersonville and the Clark-Floyd Tourism Bureau.
City of Rockport: $50,000 - Art Park
This project will create an art park in downtown Rockport to serve as an inviting gathering space to meet, listen to music, host festivals and farmers markets, and will serve as an additional quality of place feature for a blossoming downtown Rockport. The park will include green space, sidewalks, a gazebo, a water feature, lighting, and art installations. The Art Park will help create stronger social connection by enhancing the historic area where Rockport began. This project is a partnership between the City of Rockport and the Association for a Better Rockport, an Indiana Main Street organization.
City of Shelbyville: $21,200 - Japanese Cultural Garden
The Japanese Cultural Garden is a 2,500 square feet gathering space located on the former site of the Major Hospital adjacent to downtown Shelbyville. The project will create a traditional Japanese Garden with pastoral stepping stone walkways, a rock garden, bridge, a landscaped area with traditional Japanese plantings, as well as a water feature along with 10 informational plaques identifying the different features of the garden and the significance of Japanese culture in the community. This project is a partnership between the City of Shelbyville, Blue River Community Foundation, and the Shelby County Development Corporation.
City of Tell City: $50,000 - Tell City Train Depot
This project will improve and expand the current footprint of the farmer's market area by paving a grass area in order to hold events such as concerts and festivals. Plans also including the addition of benches and decorative cans throughout, constructing a train spur, along with a caboose and passenger cars behind the Depot to use for event rental space, and the construction of a deck, ramp, and stairs to expand train ride access. This project is a partnership between the Perry County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, City of Tell City, Perry County Port Authority, Scenic Lincoln Way, Inc., Insight 2000, Inc., Tell City-Troy Township School Corporation, and Waupaca Foundry.
Town of Warren: $28,800 - Downtown Park
This project is implementing a new park space into Warren’s downtown where two abandoned houses once stood. The project consists of creating a gathering space and a location to hold a variety of events (such as concerts, farmer’s markets, and youth group meetings). This phase includes constructing a stage to host concerts and other events at the park. The park will also allow the town of Warren to host additional events that were previously unavailable, to draw in additional tourism. This project is a partnership between Historic Warren, Inc., the Warren Chamber of Commerce, and the Town of Warren.