The League of Women Voters provided a dinner program on "Indiana State Resources for Small Communities" for nearly 50 community leaders from Crawfordsville and the small communities in Montgomery County Tuesday evening at Christ Lutheran Church.

Jill Curry, Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, was the featured speaker. Curry serves fourteen counties and 150 cities and towns in west central Indiana. The workshop was designed to help small towns, city and county officials and members of the Small Communities Network (an organization of small town leaders that grew out of the League's Build a Better Community Forums) identify state and federal grant programs to improve their communities.

Curry described Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). In 2012, the state of Indiana distributed nearly 22 million dollars in CDBG including $11.6 million for infrastructure (sewer, water, storm water utilities), $1.5 million for public facilities (libraries, community centers, senior centers), $1.5 million for Emergency Servies, $500,000 for Historic Preservation, $200,000 for brownfield/clearance. In addition, $1.3 million was distributed for planning grants, $3 million for Stellar Communities, $1.2 million for Community Economic Development Fund, and $1 million for Main Street Revitalization Program (MSRP.) She outlined grant request limits and project considerations.

The Indiana Shovel Ready Program reduces potential costs of site development for businesses and enhances the marketability of certified sites in Hoosier communities. The Shovel Ready program is a joint partnership between the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and OCRA.

The Indiana Main Street program is a resource for Indiana communities that are inspired to revitalize and preserve their downtowns and main streets through economic development, redevelopment and historical preservation tactics. Workshops, community exchanges, and other training opportunities are available throughout the year. Grant programs available to Indiana Main Street communities include the Downtown Enhancement Grant and the Main Street Revitalization Program.

Indiana Hometown Competitiveness is a comprehensive framework for rural community development. This innovative program emphasizes five key "pillars" to create economic success in rural Indiana including: youth engagement, leadership development, entrepreneurship, rural family success, and building community wealth.

Stellar Communities Program is a multi-agency partnership designed to fund comprehensive community development projects in Indiana's smaller communities. The Stellar Communities program embodies collaborative government partnerships and successfully leverages state and federal funding from multiple agencies to undertake large-scale projects.

The Young Entrepreneurs Program was established to assist young entrepreneurs to make their business plans become a reality in Indiana. The Young Entrepreneurs Expo will be held April 25 at the University of Indianapolis. Participants will have the opportunity to showcase business ideas in a trade show-style environment and interact with communities leaders.

Curry addressed questions from participants and emphasized the importance of having a Comprehensive Plan in place to be most competitive in receiving grants. She also spoke individually with community representatives and encouraged all to contact her with any questions or advice desired: jcurry@ocra.in.gov, 317-450-5078, www.in.gov/ocra.



The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan, multi-issue political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase public understanding of major policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. All men and women are invited to join LWV where hands-on work to safeguard democracy leads to civic improvement. For information about the League, visit the website www.lwvmontco.org, send a message to LWV, PO Box 101, Crawfordsville, or e-mail lwvmontco@gmail.com.