Stellar projects coming to fruition
Corydon has had two years as an Indiana Stellar Community designation, and some of the projects are finished.
Completed projects include the Indian Creek Trail, Beanblossom Building renovations, Corydon School Senior Lofts and owner-occupied housing rehabilitation, according to Corydon Town Manager Rand Heazlitt, who provided Stellar updates to the Harrison County Board of Commissioners and Harrison County Council during September meetings.
“We’re starting to get some things done,” Heazlitt said. “We’re excited about that.”
Indiana’s Stellar Communities Program is a multi-year, multi-million-dollar investment initiative that works with local towns or rural regions that have a vision for community and economic development. Corydon was selected a Stellar community in 2016. The designation funneled millions of dollars to fund improvements that matched the town’s plan with local matching funds to support the work.
“We figured between the $4 million the town put in and the $4 million the community foundation put in, we’ve leveraged in excess of $26 million to go into the downtown,” Heazlitt said. “That’s pretty substantial.”
The Stellar program has generated other positive enhancements, Heazlitt added.
For example, the old Corydon school building was nearly in disrepair, according to Heazlitt. Now, 45 apartments are all filled with tenants and the Boys & Girls Club of Harrison-Crawford Counties, which once was housed in the former school, has a brand new facility, located next to the YMCA of Harrison County in Corydon.
“The spin-offs from the Stellar project, for the rest of the community, has just been astounding,” Heazlitt said.
The Beanblossom Building has apartments on the top floor and a business on the ground level, with office suites available for lease.
“If you all drove by this building before, it was just a nightmare,” Heazlitt said.
He added the state put in $87,000 for renovations, with the town covering utility hookup, which cost roughly $60,000, and the private sector invested $650,000 into the project, so far.
The old J.J. Bulleit Building is half full on commercial space. Heazlitt said a restaurant is in final negotiating talks to fill up the remainder of the space on the ground floor. The apartments are on the second floor are all rented.
Also, 27 businesses have used Stellar funds to complete facade projects.
“I have to say, what you’ve done there is almost unbelievable,” Commissioner Charlie Crawford said. “And, if someone has been out of town for a couple of years now and come back in, they’d have to go back outside and look again to make sure they were home.”
The comment got a laugh from the crowd. Heazlitt said it’s a common theme from residents who have moved back to Corydon.
The town plans to spend remaining funds on the downtown area to remodel the look of Chestnut Street to the east end of town, which is where the Senior Lofts are located and projects at the old Gerdon Auto property and Rice Island.
Harrison County government officials will have their first October meeting next week, on Monday, when the Harrison County Board of Commissioners meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Government Center.
As the elected officials spend the next month finalizing the 2020 budget, one change to the local income tax (LIT) is being proposed. Discussions took place earlier in the year to move 25% of the LIT from economic development to public safety. Residents will not see any tax increases due to the change.
The change still requires a public hearing, which is set to take place during the county council’s meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. (moved from Monday, Oct. 14, due to the Columbus Day holiday). The council could take action on the tax rate modification later that night.