WABASH COUNTY, IN (July 19, 2019) – The City of Wabash will be hosting a “Stellarbration” to commemorate the completion of the Stellar Communities Designee grant Wabash received in 2014. The event will occur in conjunction with Wabash Marketplace’s First Friday event on August 2nd from 5:00-8:00pm throughout the downtown area.
The Stellar Communities Program is a collaboration between several state agencies, including the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). It is designed to support comprehensive community development projects to make wide ranging quality of life impacts through the partnership of public agencies and community partners.
“The Stellar designation from the State of Indiana put Wabash on a path to success in 2014 and Wabash has proven the adage that “Success breeds Success” as evidenced by the Quarterfinalist award in America’s Best Communities and winning the Small Business Revolution by Deluxe in 2016. As Mayor, my goal is to take the baton that I was handed by Mayor Vanlandingham and continue toward the finish line of Stellar. The race to make Wabash an attractive, livable community for the future is a marathon, not a sprint and we continue to run the race!”
In order to be considered for the grant the City of Wabash and the former Economic Development Group of Wabash County (now Grow Wabash County) were required to submit a masterplan to be completed in the four-year timeframe the program designated. The City engaged with American Structurepoint to help develop a strategic investment plan detailing several projects that would be critical to the future development of the City. These projects were possible through a combination of state, local, and private funding. Due to the various funding allocated, some of the projects are still in process but will be completed in the near future.
Projects that were part of the Stellar Communities Designee program:
Eagles Theatre Community Center improvements including complete preservation, restoration, and renovation of the historic theatre to allow for expanded community center functions.
Façade Improvement program that enabled a number of owners of downtown buildings to invest the additional funds needed to fix roofs and structural issues to save buildings, businesses, and the architectural character of downtown.
State Road 13/15 corridor improvements between Canal Street and the Wabash River. These improvements are designed to intuitively lead visitors into the heart of Wabash, such as proper access control and curb cuts, pedestrian elements including sidewalks, and storm system Improvements.
Neighborhood owner-occupied rehabilitation that entailed assisting low-income home-owners with repairs that include making houses adaptable for seniors to age in place, create improved energy efficiency, and make improvements to the homes by eliminating hazards and improving the overall condition of the homes
Design and construction of Rock City Lofts, a senior (55 and older) affordable housing project that renovated the four historic buildings on E. Market St. across from the Wabash Historical Museum
The creation of Friendship Hill Inclusive Playground (an integrated play area for children of all ages and abilities) next to the current John Drook Memorial Park
Streetscape and connectivity improvements including the removal of overgrown trees and replacing them with fountain grass, lighting, flowerpots, benches, among other enhancements to the downtown area.
”The Stellar Communities program was the culmination of years of efforts by the City of Wabash and a dedicated group of community leaders who knew that our community had a bright future,” said Keith Gillenwater, President and CEO of Grow Wabash County. “Grow Wabash County is proud to have played a pivotal role in implementing the projects in Wabash over the last four and a half years, and we are confident that the legacy of the Wabash Stellar Communities program will prove to be one of the most transformative projects that our city has ever undertaken.”
The Stellabration will be held in the parking lot of City Hall from 5:00-8:00 pm during First Friday on Aug 2nd and will have free activities such as kids’ games, bounce house, cotton candy, popcorn, and celebration cupcakes. Businesses that benefited from the façade program will have balloons displayed outside their location.
Thank you to all the volunteers and partners for this event: City of Wabash, Grow Wabash County, Wabash Marketplace, Visit Wabash County, City Council, Mayor’s Youth Council, and New Journey Church.