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Crawfordsville Prepares For Stellar Communities Grant Vetting
J. Stephen Conn

Crawfordsville officials are preparing for the state to send people to vet the city’s Stellar Communities grant application. The city was named a finalist earlier this month and now Mayor Todd Barton (R) and other leaders are formulating a presentation to make their case in more detail.

Because Crawfordsville is losing younger citizens, Barton plans to use the Stellar money to enhance the city’s downtown. His proposal centers on what he calls a “fusion center” – bringing like-minded people and groups together to enhance collaboration and efficiency.

 But Barton says the term “grant” is misleading, because no specific dollar amount is discussed in the process. Instead, he says, the application refers to tourism, volunteerism, and entrepreneurship. 

“There are a lot of, I think, misunderstandings with the program, and, you know, people refer to it as a grant, or something like that, and that’s really not the case. You’re really trying to create a vision for your community, and, you know, married with that vision is- really are certain projects that would make that vision more of a reality,” Barton says. 

It’s also the first year the grant has been subdivided. The state now offers one award to a town with fewer than 6,000 citizens and one to towns with more than 6,000 residents.

Barton says he’s not letting the competition between his city and the other two large-market finalists – Decatur and Marion -- influence his proposal decisions. 

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