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No decision on Stellar, Georgetown funding

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners discussed, but did not take action on, two looming significant decisions Monday morning: $4 million to the revitalization plan at the former Keller site and whether or not to return 1 percent riverboat gaming revenue to the Town of Georgetown.
After a presentation from Main Street Corydon’s executive director, Catherine Turcotte, Corydon Town Council president Eva Bates North and Amy Williams of Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group, Commissioner George Ethridge said he wanted to see the detailed plans for the former Keller site and parking garage (the portion of the project where the county funding would be spent) before he could vote to approve $4 million.
The plan calls for the county to spend $1 million each year for four years beginning in 2017.
The final 300-page application must be turned in by July 1.
Turcotte said Corydon is one of three finalists (less than 6,000 population) for the Stellar designation from the state, and the only one of six overall to be located in Southern Indiana.
‘We feel good about that; I think we’re in a good position,’ she said.
A Stellar finalist celebration, or ‘Stellarbration’ as it was called, will take place Saturday, May 14, with volunteers gathering at 9 a.m. to decorate the downtown with bunting and other means of sprucing up the town.
Each finalist was awarded $1,000 to use in a celebratory manner. All volunteers will receive lunch.
On July 14, visitors from multiple state agencies will visit the town to help make the Stellar designation decision. The winning sites (one also for population of more than 6,000) will be announced in August at the Indiana State Fair.
Established in 2011, the Stellar program began as a collaboration between the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Indiana Dept. of Transportation to support community planning and development initiatives by streamlining access to available funding sources and capacity building resources. The partnership has grown to include the Indiana Arts Commission, Indiana Bond Bank, Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources, Indiana Finance Authority, Indiana Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Indiana Office of Tourism and Development, Indiana State Dept. of Health Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity and Serve Indiana.
Previous Stellar communities are North Vernon and Greencastle (2011), Princeton and Delphi (2012), Richmond and Bedford (2013), Huntingburg and Wabash (2014) and Crawfordsville and North Liberty (2015).
The Stellar program provides resources for transformative quality of place community improvements by utilizing previous planning efforts, leveraging existing assets, fostering regional investments and stimulating continued growth for long-term relevance.
Other than the $4 million requested from county government, the plan has secured potential funding from the Harrison County Community Foundation ($4 million), from the state through the Stellar designation (about $6 million) and Luckett & Farley, a Louisville-based architecture, engineer and interior design firm ($5 million to $10 million).
Turcotte also said another potential investor has expressed interest in joining the project with a $7 million investment.
The total cost of all the projects in the application is $31.4 million.
‘It’s a game changer,’ Turcotte said.
Projects such as the Indian Creek Trail are included in the $31.4 million even though funding has already been secured.
The project focuses around an events center at the Keller property and a number of peripheral projects around it, such as housing, restaurants and retail.
The board will make a decision on riverboat sharing agreements, concerning the Town of Georgetown, at its next meeting, May 16, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.
The board has intentions of returning 1 percent of the sharing revenue to the town, as was originally agreed upon, taking 1 percent from Floyd County, meaning each entity would receive 1 percent out of a pool of 15-percent sharing with surrounding counties and towns.
Currently, Crawford County receives 8 percent, Floyd and Washington counties 2 percent and New Albany receives 3 percent.
The county also has a revenue-sharing agreement with all Harrison County towns.
The 1 percent was taken away from Georgetown and added to Floyd County in 2004.
The commissioners want to look at traffic data from the town (or from state records) before a decision is made.
Georgetown Town Council member Gary Smith said the board would use the funding (which could amount to $232,481 per year if the county reached its maximum) to repair the retainer walls along S.R. 64, sidewalks, streets, make improvements and additions to the town’s two parks and eventually purchase a police car and upgrade police equipment.
Smith said the town receives approximately $12,000 per year from Floyd County’s riverboat portion.
In other business, county engineer Kevin Russel approved bids for the following asphalt resurfacing projects:
Commissioner District 1 (north) ‘ Shady Estates Circle, Apple Lane between Snyders Chapel Road and the Washington County line, Kings Lane between Apple Lane and U.S. 150 and New Cut Road between Bradford Road and U.S. 150; $293,962 to MAC Construction.
District 2 (central) ‘ Hillgrove Road between Shiloh Road and Harrison-Heth Road, Pleasure Ridge Road between S.R. 337 and 6,200 feet south, New Middletown Road between S.R. 62 and Turley Road and Green Acres Drive between Shiloh Road and Heidelberg Road; $261,607 to MAC Construction.
District 3 (south) ‘ Ripperdan Valley Road between Glidas Road and Harrison-Heth Road, Squire Boone Road between Ripperdan Valley Road and S.R. 135 and Hisey Road between Ripperdan Valley Road and Heth-Washington Road; $335,414 to E&B Paving.
In a previous meeting, the board approved a speed-limit ordinance for Ball Diamond Hill Road for 25 miles per hour from 3,000 feet south of St. John’s Church Road down into the town of Lanesville. Engineer Kevin Russel said the area has hidden entrances and is a narrow road.
‘It’s pretty clear it’s an area where lower speed is appropriate,’ he said.