What was once the center of industry and commerce in Jennings County is now undergoing a multi-million dollar facelift, courtesy of Indiana’s Stellar Communities Pilot Program, a collaborative effort of IHCDA, INDOT and OCRA to encourage communities to achieve a three-year revitalization strategy.
North Vernon will receive a total of $13.8 million over several years to complete several projects to revitalize the downtown area and encourage increased commerce and investment in the City. These projects include:
- Downtown Facade Improvements
- Downtown Streetcape
- Muscatatuck Trail
- Short Street Plaza
- Carnegie Library Restoration (completed)
- Irish Hill Neighborhood improvements (completed)
- Upon being designated as a community partner participant, the city enters into the next phase of the process. This phase consists of three stages from initial planning toward implementation in a three-year time-frame. North Vernon finished both Stage 1. Initial Planning and Stage 2. Transitional Stage. North Vernon at present is in the fourth year and final stage, Stage 3. Implementation and Continuum of Support. This final stage of the program consists of full implementation and construction of improvement projects in target areas.As of July 2016, North Vernon completed over half of the projects identified in its strategic community investment plan and has started its remaining projects. For example,
- The Carnegie Library restoration is complete. In 2012, North Vernon completed its restoration of the city’s historic Carnegie Library in the downtown.
- Short Street Plaza is complete with street furniture,planters, signage, and other decorative elements.
A number of North Vernon’s projects are currently in the construction phase. For instance,
- The construction of the city’s downtown façade improvements are moving forward. However, city officials experienced a set-back in the aftermath of a massive fire in the historic district in November 2014. A total of 11 buildings were damaged in the blaze which can be seen below. Six of the buildings were part of the city’s ISCP improvements.
- Streetscape improvements are complete along Main Street and have begun along Fifth Street as of July 2016. Much of Fifth Street is under construction and businesses were temporarily closed.
- The Stellar Team also finalized property acquisition for the city’s multi-use trail, which will connect North Vernon to Muscatatuck County Park. As of July 2016, the path had been laid and paving had begun.
Photos of downtown North Vernon. Source: Sagamore Institute for Policy Research, 2016.
- The city finalized investment projects in its Irish Hill Neighborhood which included the renovation of 14 owner-occupied homes (Phase 1) and infrastructure improvements of Irish Hill Street and Sidewalks. Phase 2 of the owner-occupied housing is underway for the Irish Hill neighborhood. The City has 22 applications in this neighborhood for the second phase.
- Arvin Site Brownfield Remediation
- Depot Events Center
- Main Street Mixed Use
While both the city and the state teams deem these projects as important, they were not able to pair them with eligible federal and state funding programs and sources. The North Vernon Stellar Team is currently working towards other eligible funding sources to complete these projects.
Click here to learn more about North Vernon’s Stellar Projects.