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Corydon named a Hometown Collaboration Initiative finalist

It’s not everyday that the lieutenant governor sends you a video saying you’ve been chosen as a finalist in a new initiative.
But that’s what happened Monday for the Town of Corydon, one of six finalists in the Hometown Collaboration Initiative, a program administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs in partnership with Ball State and Purdue universities.
‘This is big news,’ Catherine Turcotte, executive director of Main Street Corydon, said. ‘What an honor for our community to work with Ball State, Purdue and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
‘I’m especially excited because this is the first year for this program, so we will be blazing new territory with a dynamic team,’ she said.
Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann sent the congratulatory videos to Corydon, the City of Lebanon, the City of Seymour, Perry County, Pulaski County and Rush County/Rushville, all finalists in the newly-launched program.
‘Congratulations to each of the HCI finalist communities,’ Ellspermann said in the recorded messages. ‘As Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, I am a strong proponent of growing rural Indiana. That means ensuring our communities provide quality of place where residents and talented people choose to live, work and raise a family. I am confident the HCI program will assist the communities in further developing opportunities for growth and prosperity.’
Communities of less than 25,000 people were eligible to apply for the initiative if they wanted to ‘expand their pipeline of local leaders, strengthen and expand jobs by building on existing economic assets and improve the attractiveness and quality of life of their hometowns.’
Those applying were asked to choose between three building blocks:
‘Economy ‘ Strengthening our Hometown Economy;
‘Leadership ‘ Developing our Hometown Leadership Pipeline; and
‘Placemaking ‘ Focusing on our Hometown’s Natural & Built Resources.
Corydon chose to combine Economy and Placemaking when submitting its application, which consisted of six open-ended questions that demonstrated the applicant’s ability and need to participate in the program as well as identified its current strengths and weaknesses. Applicants also were asked to tell why their community was prepared to participate in the program.
Those who completed the application were Turcotte, Lisa Long, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County, and Jeff Shireman of Shireman Construction.
‘This is amazing,’ Shireman said. ‘I think this will be a great program and a great team.’
Six semi-finalist communities ‘ the same six announced this week as finalists ‘ were announced in early December. This was followed by the HCI team conducting visits to each semi-finalist community.
‘We were so impressed with the representatives of the Hometown Collaborative Initiative who visited our community in December,’ Turcotte said. ‘They are a very entrepreneurial group, and one of our goals is to make Corydon a place that welcomes and encourages entrepreneurs.’
The state estimates that the consulting services Corydon will receive from Ball State, Purdue and OCRA has a value of $100,000.
The application fee was $5,000, which the Chamber and Harrison County Community Foundation split 50-50, Long said.
‘We did so because we thought this was a worthy initiative that would grow our economic and community development opportunities through community collaboration,’ Long said. ‘It’s a great investment.’
For more information about the Hometown Collaboration Initiative or to contact a regional community liaison, visit online at www.in.gov/ocra/2732.htm or www.in.gov/ocra/2330.htm.
Turcotte said those who would like to be involved in the initiative can watch the newspaper for updates or send her an email at [email protected]

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