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Posted on: March 21, 2017

City to Seek "Stellar Communities" Designation

March 21st, 2017

Madison to Seek Stellar Communities Designation

The City of Madison, Indiana plans to seek designation this year as one of Indiana’s “Stellar Communities,” Mayor Damon Welch said at tonight’s City Council Meeting. A full transcript of his announcement follows the press release.

According to the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs (OCRA), the “Stellar Communities Designation Program is a multi-agency partnership designed to recognize Indiana's smaller communities that have identified comprehensive community and economic development projects and activities as well as next steps and key partnerships. Through annual designation the Stellar Communities Designation Program provides resources for transformative quality of place community improvements.”

The process for Stellar Communities designation includes a letter of interest, due at the end of April. Finalists will be announced in May and will be required to complete a strategic investment plan (SIP) to be submitted in August. State officials will conduct site visits for finalists in September and designees will be announced in October.

For more information or to get involved in this effort, please contact Andrew at the Mayor’s Office at 812-265-8300 or

Finally, I know we have talked about this for quite a while now and it has been no secret that we had our sights set on this goal, but it is with great excitement that I want to announce to the council and community that we will be submitting a Letter of Interest to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs at the end of April expressing our desire to be a designated a “Stellar Community.”

The road to reach this point has been years in the making. We look back at the beginning of ENVISION Jefferson County…and my gratefulness to the executive committee that has helped guide that process and the local industry leaders who made it financially possible. That Vision & Action Plan began the conversation about the future of our community. It involved hundreds and hundreds of residents giving their thoughts and ideas which became a vision and laid the groundwork for our next steps.

The America’s Best Communities competition helped us take the next step in creating the “One Madison” Community Revitalization Plan in conjunction with a Comprehensive Plan. City Council passed Madison’s first Comprehensive Plan since 1999 in September of last year, and within that plan our identified a number of redevelopment projects and areas that will make the foundation of our Stellar Communities application.
In addition, as you probably know…we won $100,000 last April to take the first step toward completing the “Madison Connector” and we are now in the final stages of the ABC Competition and could be the winners of up to $3,000,000 on April 19th…which will hopefully be a catalyst for completing not only the Madison Connector but our Stellar projects as well.

Our next steps over the coming weeks will be to bring together a Stellar Advisory Team to help guide this process, get feedback from groups, organizations, and individuals. During the first week of April, we plan to engage the community in this process yet again by asking residents to rank projects that have already been identified through Envision, ABC, and the Comp Plan. We will also ask them to add any additional projects so that we are truly capturing what our community knows will transform us and take Madison to a Stellar level.

I believe everything that has happened over the last four or five years has brought us to this point where we’re finally ready to pursue this designation. While I am confident that we will succeed in this effort, our conversations with many other communities around the state who have been through Stellar told me that even going through the process will help take us to a new level of success. So over the next few months, I look forward to working with City Council, our team, and the entire community to show that we aren’t just one of America’s Best Communities, we’re a STELLAR COMMUNITY. Thank you!
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