Today, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced the peer program, designed for communities to work together on improving their quality of place programming and have productive development conversations, is now open for applications.
“We know how successful communities can be when they look to their neighboring regions and work together towards a common goal,” Crouch said. “Now, with the help of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, these partnerships can provide higher qualities of life for all Hoosiers.”
The program’s goal is for local leadership to gather best practices and the necessary tools to advance an innovative vision through in-person assessments, stakeholder conversations and peer advisement.
Any size community can be a peer participant or host community. The lead applicant must be a local unit of government with multiple organization and agency partnerships committed to participating during the process. Those involved should be key stakeholders and individuals who are decision makers.
“In our Strategic Plan, expanding the quality of place opportunities is one avenue we identified as a way to help retain, attract and develop talent as well as encourage regionalism,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “The program’s success will be realized by the communities’ ability to share strategies with others facing similar challenges. We are excited about the potential this pilot program holds.”
Golden said once applications are reviewed, OCRA will pair the final two communities. The host community will receive a $20,000 grant to implement a quality of place project based on recommendations from the process. A $20,000 cash match will be required from the peer community. Travel stipends will be available for both communities to fund travel costs.
An informational video will be available on Wednesday, June 26 that further explains the program and application process. Applications for either the host or peer community are due by 4 p.m. ET, Friday, August 16, 2019. Applications received after 4 p.m. ET will not be accepted. Paired communities will be announced on Thursday, September 12. For more information, visit www.in.gov/ocra/2999.htm.