Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

Becoming a Stellar Community  

Launched in 2011, the Stellar Communities program is a multi-agency partnership designed to recognize smaller communities and now regions that identify comprehensive and collaborative plans for community and economic development.

Through annual designation, the program provides resources for transformative quality of place community improvements by:

    Utilizing previous planning efforts
    Leveraging existing assets
    Fostering regional investments
    Stimulating continued growth for long-term relevance

2016 Attempt to become a Stellar Community.

Culver to the Max.

2016 - Apr 6 - Culver among 2016 Stellar Community finalists - a finalists in Division 2 with populations under 6,000

2016 - Apr. 15 - Culver Continues Push for Stellar Communities Designation
    The Town of Culver is ready to retool and continue pushing forward following the announcement they are a Stellar Communities Finalist.

    The state program helps communities with planning for grant applications and additional funding sources. By developing a projects list and ways to help meet matching requirements, the state will provide assistance for identifying applicable grants and providing aid throughout the application process for those funds.

    As part of being name a finalist, Culver will receive $10-thousand to help finalize their planning. A steering committee is aiding in the application process and hopes to create more “buy-in” from the community.

    The plan was that was submitted in March, that number would only have to be $875-thousand over four years and have the council basically either put it in minutes or a resolution that we’re committing this amount to Stellar if awarded

    Culver will submit its updated plans for the Stellar Communities designation by July 1st

2016 - May 26 - Culver Takes More Steps in Preparation for Stellar Communities’ Designation

    The Culver Town Council has authorized spending funds related to the state’s Stellar Communities program.

    During their meeting on Tuesday, a resolution was considered that is part of the application process for state grant assistance and planning. Culver was named a finalist as part of Stellar Communities earlier this year, but a second phase of the application is anticipated later this year.

    The Town is partnering with the Culver Redevelopment Commission in providing the matching grant funds.

    According to the resolution, the Town is pledging a total of $184-thousand for the projects planned for development. The CRC is providing enough to bring the total matching funds to $834-thousand.

    Projects planned for Culver include the beach lodge, improvements in the park department such as soccer fields, and improvements to the Town’s sidewalks

    While the projects come with a hefty price tag, funds are intended to be spent over the course of four years as the projects are completed.

    The Culver Town Council is preparing its application, and is planning a kick-off event in June to help promote their efforts moving forward.

2016 - Jun 9 - Stellar Fest on Saturday in Culver. This is a celebration of Culver’s status as a finalist in Indiana’s Stellar Community Designation Program. Several activities in the park will pertain to the Stellar Fest.

2016 - June 15 - Stop by the back room of the Lakehouse Grille from 6:30 to 8:00 for an open house to find out more about Culver Stellar Plans

2016 - Aug 11 - Culver Misses Out on Stellar, but Intends Future Attempts
    The Indiana Lieutenant Governor’s office announced the winner of this year’s Indiana Stellar Community designation, and the Culver community just missed out on the top prize.

    Culver is anticipating a follow-up meeting with representatives from the state in September to discuss possible changes for next year.

2016 - Oct 1 - Culver Reviews Stellar Communities
    The Town of Culver held their follow-up meeting with OCRA on Friday after not receiving an Indiana Stellar Communities designation.

    Culver applied for the designation following a months-long planning and application process. The lake community was named a finalist in the small population category, one of two categories, but ultimately saw its hopes dashed by former state capital Corydon when the announcement was made.

    Committee members were specifically interested in recommendations to alter their next application.

    The state recommended tying the projects together into a comprehensive vision. They also recommended adding more projects and improving the scope of the existing projects to impact population growth or assessed value.

    OCRA strongly encouraged the community to continue working on their project list through other grant opportunities.

2017 Attempt to become a Stellar Community.

Culver Stellar Town Year Around

2017 - Culver Moving Ahead with Stellar Communities Application Items
    The Town of Culver plans to invest nearly $25,000 into its Stellar Communities application.

    The town council Tuesday voted to move ahead with a couple proposals. The Troyer Group will put together a strategic investment plan for a cost of $12,300.

    Meanwhile, the Big Idea company will once again produce a promotional video. They’ve agreed the cost won’t exceed $7,500

    Both those companies also worked with Culver on last year’s Stellar application, so many of the materials can be reused. They’ll be updated to reflect some new projects, as well as some suggestions the town’s gotten from the state, like focusing on year-round growth. Also part of the budget are this month’s Stellar Fest and various promotional materials.

    All the above items will add up to nearly $25,000. That’s $9,000 more than what the town currently has available for the application. To balance out the budget, an additional appropriation may be required later this year.

    The winner of the Stellar Communities designation is expected to be announced later this summer. Stellar Communities are eligible for state resources and planning help for grant applications and project development.

2017 - July 12 - Culver Town Council President Ginny Bess Munroe and Culver Town Manager Jonathan Leist went before the Marshall County Council to ask for a letter of support to include in their application for the Stellar Communities Designation Program grant. The Marshall County Council did unanimously approve the submission of a letter of support for the Stellar Communities Designation Program grant. The letter will be included in a packet due for final consideration on Aug. 25.

2017 - Aug 23 - Culver Town Council, Stellar Committee Prepare for Site Visit
    The finishing touches are complete on the Stellar Strategic Investment Plan for submission to the Stellar Communities Designation Program committee for the Town of Culver.

    Union Township submitted a letter of support toward the project along with a $40,000 contribution toward the effort.

    The Marshall County Community Foundation, in coordination with the Vonnegut Fund through the organization , contributed $80,000 toward the bike and pedestrian trail project

    Elkay Manufacturing is partnering with the town to provide cabinetry and plumbing fixtures for the proposed Sandhill Farm workforce development housing project.

    The Strategic Investment Plan is due Friday, Aug. 25 in Indianapolis. The Troyer Group is producing the final draft to be printed today.

    The county’s in-kind contribution to pave one mile of the proposed bike and pedestrian trail, in addition to the aforementioned donations, the Regional Cities grant, and other in-kind contributions, nearly $1 million is being invested in helping to make the Town of Culver a Stellar Community.

    Now the town council and Stellar Committee members are preparing for the site visit on Oct. 5

2017 - Oct 18 - Culver Was announced as a "Stellar Community" 2017 Division II Designee - Town of Culver; after two years of hard work to achieve the status.

2018, Oct 25 The state recognition of the Stellar Communities Designation Program designees was from 10 a.m. to noon ET in Indianapolis. Officials from the Town of Culver and the City of Madison attend ed the festivities as a Stellarbration of becoming stellar communitie

2017 Culver's Stellar Community Strategic Invesement Plan booklet - 156 pages.


The Town of Culver’s unique assets, Lake Maxinkuckee and Culver Academies, paired with its challenges, expensive and limited housing options, were incorporated in their 2017 Stellar application. Every summer, thousands of visitors come to Culver to take advantage of the lake as well as their summer programming. Several of the homes in the area are owned by these summer guests. Come winter, many of these houses are left unoccupied and the number of residents dips significantly. To address this issue, Culver’s 2017 Stellar application pursued the idea of a “Stellar town, year-round” that will create a quality of life to attract people to live in Culver year-round. Through this designation, Culver’s tight-knit community of just over 1,400 has rallied to levels of community engagement that the town has never before seen.

A Stellar update from Culver
by Aim Admin | Dec 22, 2017 | Legislators, Media, Members
    Aim spoke with Culver Town Manager Jonathan Leist about the honor, and what projects are underway.

    How has Culver’s Stellar designation already impacted the community, and what long-term benefits do you anticipate?
      Just participating in the Stellar Communities program as an applicant and finalist over the last two years has had a big impact on the Town of Culver and our mission. We had a lot of things in motion when we decided to apply for the program in January 2016, and the last two years in the Stellar process helped us refine our mission and our goals. The process itself, community input, and relationship building with top employers and partnering agencies helped us realize that population growth and new workforce housing were our top priorities, and allowed us to sharpen our focus and invest our resources in addressing those issues in Culver. As a result of those discussions and partnerships, we agreed to provide utilities (water, street, sewer) to a new apartment building that will provide 24 new housing units in Culver, and the developer has already broken ground on that project. This first apartment building will not receive funding from the state through Stellar Communities, but the discussions from our Stellar Communities effort are what made it a reality. In terms of long-term benefits, we hope to attract 200 new residents to live full time in Culver over the next five years, to bring 50 new students to our schools, and attract millions of dollars in new assessed value, primarily in new residential housing during the course of our Stellar Designation.

    Now that Culver is a Stellar designee, what projects are in the pipeline?
      We’ve had our first meeting with state staff, and it sounds like they will be able to fund the majority of the projects we had included in our Strategic Investment Plan. This includes over 1 mile of new trail that will connect our downtown, Culver Park, Culver Academies, and our new housing developments; new sidewalks on State Highway 10; streetscape improvements on West Jefferson Street; approximately $1 million in renovations to our Beach Lodge (Culver Park Building) on Lake Maxinkuckee; improvements to youth soccer and baseball fields (Cavalier Park); improvements to our park programming and accessibility to Lake Maxinkuckee; and a second phase to our housing project. The Beach Lodge and Cavalier Park are probably the projects that we will see move forward first out of that list.

    Twenty years down the road, what is your vision for Culver? How will Stellar have shaped that vision?
      Twenty years from now, Culver will still be growing and thriving, with a setting on one of the most pristine lakes in the Midwest. Our top employers will see more of their employees be able to live in Culver. We will have a greater diversity of housing options. Our small businesses will benefit from a growing year-round population. Ideally, we will be able to grow the year-round population while still being an attractive place for retirees, second homeowners, vacationers, and day trippers that many of our local small businesses depend on.

    What excites you the most about the Stellar designation?
      The Stellar Designation means so much to our community. Residents and businesses are so proud of the designation and excited to use the recognition to help market our town! I cannot tell you how many hands I have shaken, congratulations we have received, and how many times I have said “thank you” to the many partners, committee members, elected officials, and staff who made this happen in Culver. Residents have been excited about many of these projects for years, and to see them finally come to fruition over the next four years is very exciting. Personally, I cannot wait to cut the ribbon on the first one we complete, whichever it happens to be! I believe in all of the projects on the list and I am excited about the new people they will bring to Culver, and how they will improve the quality of life for our residents, either by providing a new community gathering space for park and recreation events during our Northern Indiana winters, or by providing safe bike and pedestrian connections to key locations, or improving lake accessibility for everyone in the community, all of the projects bring something to the equation that I believe when all totaled, will help us become a “Stellar Town Year-Round,” and attract new residents and commercial investment in Culver over the next five years and beyond.

2018 - Nov 8 - Culver’s local Stellarbration was held Wednesday, at the Culver Beach Lodge. Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch attended the local event that began at 4:30 p.m. and an open house from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. ET

Culver "Big Letter" Sign
    As a part of our Stellar Fest celebration earlier this summer, we put up a Culver sign on the pedestrian bridge in the park

    Unfortunately this awesome sign is temporary - but now we have an opportunity to make it permanent

    This campaign reached its goal on Oct 20, 2017 11:45 PM.

    We plan to have the sign installed by the end of 2017, and the historical marker installed in early 2018. But we need Culver advocates like YOU to help us raise $2,500 first!

    We will receive a $2,500 grant from IHCDA, but only if we meet our $2,500 goal first.

    We can make the sign permanent, and even add a Historical Display that explains the story behind our town's name


Bess Family (3 patrons) Culver, IN $100
Paul DeBenedictis and Leigh Marshall (2 patrons) Culver, IN $50
Marion Reinhold $25
John & Laura Spensley Cape Coral, DC $50
Anonymous Culver, IN $25
Debby Kelley Columbus, OH $25
Anonymous Culver, IN $25
Jenny Dorrel Culver, IN $50
Kathleen Daly Kline Culver, IN $25
Debra Noel Culver, IN $25
GREG & Marcia Combs Culver, IN $250
Shelly Schrimsher Culver, IN $25
Susan McInturff Culver, IN $25
Jean Triplet Culver, IN $25
Sally Ricciardi Culver, IN $100
Easterday Construction Culver, IN $50
Joshua Pretzer Culver, IN $100
William and Linda Browne Culver, IN $50
Amber Cowell Danville, KY $10
Culver Beard Club (10 patrons) Culver, IN $1,000
Anna Campbell Culver, IN $50
Litt Clark Culver, IN $100
Michael and Kathleen Boswell Brentwood, TN $250
Tracy Fox Culver, IN $100
Mark Damore Culver, IN $100
Anonymous Culver, IN $25
Bess Family (2 patrons) Culver, IN $250

2018 - April 3 - The projects funded by the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) as part of the Stellar Communities Designation Program in Culver will undergo public hearings this month and in May.
    The OCRA and park-related project hearings will be at the end of this month and another one in May. Those projects include the renovation of the Culver Beach Lodge, the construction of Cavalier Sports Park and Lake Max programming.

Culver Stellar Communities Project Timeline Taking Shape -
    There is a four-year timeline in which to complete the projects outlined in the Culver’s strategic investment plan

The Damore Amphitheater and the first phase of the Lake Maxinkuckee Trail are expected to be complete this year.

With $2 million in additional funding for the OCRA-funded projects, the council is looking to expand the project scope of renovations to the Culver Beach Lodge,
    Making it more ADA accessible, Whether it’s an elevator, new stairs. Maximizeing space on the main floor and try and get a large room that we can do different things with.
Cavalier Sports Park and Lake Maxinkuckee programming.

The OCRA-funded projects are expected to be bid out in late 2018 for 2019 construction.

INDOT-funded projects such as the second phase of the Lake Maxinkuckee Trail, State Road 10 sidewalks and the West Jefferson Street Gateway will undergo construction at the end of the four-year stellar designation.

However, the timeline is tentative subject to the availability of funds and preparation.

2018 - June 16 The Culver Town Council members approved two resolutions this week in order for the town to successfully submit applications for two Stellar Community Designation Program projects
    one resolution authorizes the submittal of the Cavalier Sports Park application and local match commitment. This is a requirement by the Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The local match for the project is $340,000 from the Rainy Day Fund and the General Fund.

    The second resolution authorizes the submittal of the application for the Culver Beach Lodge renovation project and local match commitment. The local match for the project is $270,000 from the Rainy Day Fund, Cumulative Capital Development Fund and the General Fund.

    The match money will need to be paid once the Community Development Block Grant funds are approved.

2018 - Jul 14 - Service Proposals Sought for Culver Stellar Projects
    A proposal for engineering services for the INDOT related projects within the Town of Culver’s Stellar Communities Designation Program plans is still anticipated.

    Still waiting on The Troyer Group proposal for the projects for
      State Road 10 sidewalks,
      the second phase of the Lake Maxinkuckee walking and biking trail
      the West Jefferson Gateway.

    As for the Office of Community and Rural Affairs projects, the town is seeking proposals for architectural services. Those projects include the Culver Beach Lodge renovation project and the Cavalier Sports Park construction by the Culver Community School Corporation.

    Interviews for those projects are expected to take part in the latter part of August.

2018 - Aug 18 - The Town of Culver is awaiting grant funds to begin two major projects outlined in the town’s Stellar Communities Designation Program plans.
    The official award notices have not been approved by the Office of Community and Rural Affairs for the Culver Beach Lodge renovation project and the Cavalier Sports Park. Apparently, the officials are waiting for the funds to distribute.

    OCRA is simply waiting for the federal government to disperse funds. A date on when that will happen has not been relayed.

    In the meantime, the town received proposed fee schedules and contracts from The Troyer Group for two of the three INDOT projects planned for next year within the Stellar plans
      the State Road 10 sidewalk project and the West Jefferson Gateway project. a phase of the Lake Maxinkuckee Walking and Biking Trail.

    The numbers will be high right now, but there is a budget of $2.4 million for those projects. Survey work next year will be able to determine a closer look at budget costs for the projects.