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Huntingburg, Wabash Chosen As 2014 Stellar Communities

wabash Indiana

Photo: OZinOH (Flickr)

A street in Wabash, Ind.

Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann today named Huntingburg and Wabash as Indiana’s 2014 Stellar Communities.

The Indiana Stellar Communities program, in its fourth year, is aimed at helping cities and towns around the state accomplish long term community planning and development projects.

Wabash mayor Robert Vanlandingham was emotional when his city was announced as one of the winners.  He says it’s the culmination of a long journey.

“Being a mayor for 11 years and when you start something you don’t always get to see it finish, we started working on these things, on this ‘working together’ thing, my first week in office,” he said. “It meant a ton because we’ve arrived; we’ve done it.”

There’s been some controversy this year.  Members of the Nashville community, one of the program’s six finalists, complained the process wasn’t open enough and shut out many citizens.

Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann says the state is committed to improving the process.

“Every community’s got to implement it themselves and so we will continue to work with all the communities to help ensure that what they do as they get to being a finalist really has been inclusive,” she says.

The money provided to the winners helps bridge funding gaps for the major projects identified in each city’s proposal.  Vanlandingham says the money from the state could mean the difference between finishing all the projects in four years, rather than 15.

The other finalists were Decatur, Marion, Mount Vernon, and Nashville

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