Jared Reedy, Aim Hometown Innovations Contributor
In the Indianapolis neighborhood of Irvington on October 4th, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) presented Gov. Eric Holcomb’s proclamation declaring October as Downtown Development Month. Crouch and OCRA travelled across the state last month, announcing the celebration in Irvington, presenting a grant in New Castle, touring Goshen’s Main Street, and visiting Terre Haute for a roundtable discussion on downtown development.
“Indiana’s rural and urban downtowns continue to play a uniquely important role in the economic and social development of their communities,” said Lt. Gov. Crouch.
Downtown Development Month celebrates the importance of downtown development throughout the state, specifically through the Indiana Main Street program, for the economic growth and social development of Hoosier communities. The Indiana Main Street program, facilitated by OCRA, plays a crucial role in the revitalization and sustainability of downtown areas across the state. Irvington, alongside fellow Indianapolis neighborhood Mass Ave, applied for and was accepted into Indiana Main Street earlier this year.
On October 12th, as a part of the Downtown Development Month celebrations, Lt. Gov. Crouch and OCRA announced that New Castle was the winner of the 2023 PreservINg Main Street grant. In partnership with Indiana Landmarks and Indiana Humanities, PreservINg Main Street was created by OCRA to be a multi-faceted community development program. The program provides selected Indiana Main Street communities with up to $2 million through OCRA’s Community Development Block Grant program to revitalize historic buildings.
“The PreservINg Main Street program will enhance New Castle’s commitment to its historic downtown,” said Indiana Landmarks President Marsh Davis. “This will demonstrate that historic preservation functions [as] a powerful tool for community revitalization.”
Indiana Main Street provides numerous benefits to participating communities. Firstly, it fosters a sense of community pride by preserving historic buildings and promoting local businesses. Additionally, Indiana Main Street offers technical assistance and training to communities, empowering them with valuable resources for sustainable growth. Through this initiative, downtown areas are transformed into vibrant hubs, creating employment opportunities, enhancing property values, and improving overall quality of life for residents.
“Continued downtown development is an important piece in bettering the quality of life for community members,” said OCRA Executive Director Denny Spinner. “I’ve been fortunate to see a number of successful examples of downtown development around the state, and I look forward to honoring these efforts throughout October.”