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Quality Places: Rural Communities Awarded Federal Grants

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Federal funding has been awarded to six towns throughout northern Indiana to support improvements in a variety of quality-of-life projects.

Over $12 million in total funding was made available to 25 rural Indiana towns, six of which are in northern Indiana, under the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) and administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA).

In the announcement, (former) Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb said that, “a key factor in establishing good quality of life is ensuring a community can guarantee their residents the health and safety that they deserve, which is what CDBG strives to accomplish.”

The grants are intended to improve water systems, public facilities, and area improvement projects. “Each city and town has differing needs for what will best contribute to the development of their community,” said OCRA Executive Director Bill Konyha, explaining the variety of projects funded by the program.

Recipients of funds through the Wastewater Drinking Water Program include:

  • Greentown (Howard County)
  • Ligonier (Noble County)
  • Otterbein (Benton County)

Funding for these three towns totals $1.9 million. Improvements for these towns range from well and treatment facility improvements to replacing water pipes, ensuring more reliable and better water for residents without increasing water bills.

Brookston (White County) was awarded $500,000 through the Stormwater Improvement Program, whose goal is to reduce flooding and protect lakes and rivers. Brookston will use the funds to rehabilitate the stormwater collection system, reducing property damage and making roads and sidewalks safe.

Auburn (DeKalb County) received $500,000 through the Mainstreet Revitalization Program, which aims to encourage long-term community development. These funds will support streetscape and sewer improvements and increase foot traffic to downtown businesses as well as provide a focal venue for community events and activities.

Walkerton (St. Joseph County) was awarded $400,000 towards the construction of a new library/media center including computer/technology labs, meeting spaces and a youth activity area. These funds were made available via the Public Facilities Program.

Finally, Wabash County received $250,000 through the Workforce Development Program to create a workforce investment program. Working in partnership with Huntington and Kosciusko counties, this project creates scholarships to support individuals in learning CNC machining, industrial maintenance and welding.

Bill Konyha, Executive Director

Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs