Chelsea Schneider, Municipal Innovations Specialist
With a high-performing school district and low tax rate, Churubusco is positioning itself as a premier suburb in the Fort Wayne metropolitan area.
Well-known as Turtle Town USA and for its Oscar the Turtle mascot whose likeness is found on statues and signs throughout the community, Churubusco leaders are raising awareness of the unique charm and quality of life the town offers.
And they’re launching major projects, including becoming a finalist in the state’s Stellar Communities program where designated municipalities receive an infusion of funding for community development projects. The town also is beginning a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for a new accessible park.
“We have a really nice 65-acre park. That is definitely what we pride ourselves on,” Churubusco Clerk-Treasurer Madalyn Sade-Bartl said. “It’s important that every kid has a spot to be able to play and grow. You learn so much on the playground and out at recess in leadership skills and teamwork.”
A child shouldn’t be on the sidelines, she said, because they can’t play on the equipment.
Churubusco also is in the process of redoing every sidewalk in town through an innovative financing program where the town and resident split the cost of the project. So far, the program has had substantial buy-in from residents, with a waiting list since it opened.
“This summer, we are finally done with the waiting list from the 2012 roll out,” Sade-Bartl said. “Before I took office, I was trying to maneuver a stroller over those bumps. I looked at the budget and thought, ‘I know that we have money. We should be doing something about it.’ I notice a lot more people walking, riding their bikes, running, jogging than you ever did before.”
Other goals are to expand and remodel the town’s library and to grow popular festivals, including the back-to-school ‘Busco Block Party and community-wide garage sales.
“While we want to keep our small town charm, we want to have that small town atmosphere with all the big city amenities,” Sade-Bartl said. “We’re trying to bring people to Churubusco to try to show people what we have available here. It’s all about bringing people to Churubusco.”