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Marshall County wins 2019 Stellar Community award

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ind. — Marshall County Crossroads is the 2019 Stellar Community.

It’s a collaboration between six towns working to improve the quality of life in Marshall County.

The Indiana Stellar Communities Program is an initiative that gives Indiana’s rural regions millions of dollars over a multi-year period to help develop their visions.

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch announced Marshall County Crossroads as the 2019 winner in a phone call to organizers on Thursday.

The $14 million dollars will help pay for 35 projects in Argos, Bourbon, Bremen, Culver, La Paz, and Plymouth over the next four to five years.

“It’s going to be a huge asset for our county,” said Kevin Overmyer, president of the Marshall County Commissioners.

Overmyer says Marshall County has a lot of jobs but struggles to attract families to live in the area because it lacks things to do outside of work.

The money will pay for projects like parks, housing developments, trails, and murals.

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For example, in Plymouth the Stellar money will help finish paying for the Reese Theater Project. Once done, it will be a community center.

Crossroads Plaza will also be built on the corner of Michigan St. and Jefferson St. It’s a pocket park that recognizes the five historic highways that go through the area.

“Our slogan with the Marshall County Crossroads is ‘Great Hometowns, One Vision,’ said Sean Surrisi, city attorney for Plymouth. “I think that kind of sums it up very well that we’re trying to build these great hometowns that will attract more people to stay or relocate here because we have a great thriving economy and it’s a wonderful setting to live in.”

Leaders hopes in turn those projects help increase their population by 2.5 percent, improve per capita personal income, fill an expected 400 jobs openings, create career coaching and trade skills programs, prioritize health and wellness, strengthen arts and culture, and builds more diverse and affordable housing among other impacts.

“It goes past the money part,” said Overmyer. “If we wouldn’t have won, we still would’ve been working towards our goals but this just enhances the process of getting them down quicker. I think this also just goes beyond the 4-5 years that we go through this process. It just puts a spotlight on you.”

Surrisi says Crossroads will meet with the state after the New Year to finalize projects. He explains the first year will be primarily spent finalizing projects and publicizing them. Beginning in year two is when most residents can expect to see ground break on Stellar projects.

Additionally, Surrisi says Crossroads is looking to become a regional non-profit planning board that can implement the Stellar projects and look into other collaborative efforts in the future.

“They’re going to have some new ammenities coming and it also means that Marshall County has recognized that collaborating and working on regional planning is a priority,” said Surrisi. “It means that there’s opportunities for individuals and businesses in those communities to engage with their leadership in their county.”

To read the full Marshall County Crossroads Stellar plan, click here.

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