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