For sixteen years, OCRA has been working closely with communities to build thriving places where people want to work, learn, play, study and stay. We have cultivated partnerships, advanced capacity, provided connections and growth opportunities; as well as built public facilities, upgraded necessary water infrastructure and help improve the quality of life for Hoosiers of all ages.
During 2020, OCRA’s leadership experienced some transitions. We would like to take a moment and applaud the leadership of Jodi Golden and Matt Crouch, who both are responsible for the agency’s success and growth over the last year. Please join us in thanking them for their service and devotion to rural Indiana.
OCRA continues to be a great example of collaboration between state agencies and our local communities. The success each partner has had is possible through regional collaboration of your local government, chamber and economic development leaders, as well as your businesses, schools and non-profits.
Through the hard work of OCRA, Indiana is enhancing outcomes and building more unified and vibrant communities, while helping resilient Hoosiers navigate their way through the pandemic.
As we reflect on the last year, OCRA pivoted and took action. Every day brought a new challenge, but we persevered. The COVID-19 Response Program was created to help fund lifesaving activities during the height of the pandemic, including the Governor’s stay-at-home order. More than $20.9 million was awarded to 61 cities, towns and counties. In this 2020 Annual Report, other successes to highlight include:
- A new program to highlight, celebrate and preserve women’s influence in Indiana history was launched;
- The Main Street program was expanded to include new leadership capacity training, a new grant program to help organizations with operating funds and a new levels system was successfully launched; and
- An additional 131 grants were awarded to communities across the state to preserve historic building, create quality of place, plan for tomorrow and fix crumbling water infrastructure.
Moving forward, we will continue to prioritize assisting with COVID-19 recovery through grant funding, technical assistance and capacity building. We will continue our support for small businesses, which is integral to the recovery of Indiana’s rural economy. Expanding rural broadband remains a top priority, so Hoosiers can live where they chose and always be connected. As always, we will continue to keep you informed along the way through our communication channels and OCRA’s Community Liaisons.
We truly believe rural Indiana can lead the revival as we continue to cope with COVID-19. As former county and city officials, we know the resiliency of small towns and how communities can successfully work together, with support from State government. Thank you for all you’ve done to endure during this challenging time, and we look forward to working with you over the coming year.