Host Joe Hren sat down with Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray who shared her thoughts on the legislative session and a conference in Washington D.C. representing small town Indiana on how to keep rural cities vibrant and attractive to a population moving toward bigger cities.
Listen to their full conversation above. Here are some highlights:
Hren: Since we’ve seen you last, you took a trip to Washington D.C. representing small town Indiana at a conference on how to keep rural areas vibrant, especially since populations are moving to urban areas. How was it and what did you get out of the trip?
Murray: They wanted to talk about what innovative things are happening in communities throughout the United States that potentially lead to a better economic state for the region that they’re in. There are a whole lot of dedicated people out there trying to figure out what do you do with less.
Hren: Where does Greencastle lie with other cities of the similar size across the nation?
Murray: We are very fortunate we are located where we are in the state, we’ve been fortunate of our economic well-being we’ve had since 2008 and most certainly I have to include the Stellar Grant in that. And the third thing is we’ve been lucky.
Hren: I understand the bids for the new splash pad came in well over budget, where does this project lie now?
Murray: We took a proposal to the city council to use rainy day funds to help cover that overage and I’m happy to say that the council felt it was a really important addition to our aquatics center and to the main central park in the community and we don’t make a regular habit of using rainy day funds, but they did set aside $110,000 for overages. Our goal is still to have it opened by July 4th.
Hren: Indiana’s February unemployment rate overall improved but Putnam County fell to 13th worst in the state. Is this part of the ebb and flow for this time of the year?
Murray: Yes, it definitely is. I knew those numbers were determined on some mathematical formula based on some interviews of random households within the state, what I didn’t know until I read the Star Sunday that it’s 1,000 households in the state of Indiana who help determine what Putnam County unemployment rate is. So nothing major has happened in Putnam County to cause a 1.7% change in our unemployment rate in a month. I think it’s the luck of who got called and how it fit into the formula and we got the short end of the stick this time.