Now that NewAllen Alliance has been awarded $4.5 million in Stellar Communities funding from the state, the hard work will begin of creating a timeline for the proposed east Allen County projects.

NewAllen learned the morning of Dec. 11 that it was one of two coalitions to receive 2018 Stellar Community designations that brings millions of dollars in funding into their regions.

However, the alliance won’t be receiving a blank check, alliance president Kent Castleman said.

“While we received the designation, it sets aside pots of money that we can apply for again,” Castleman said.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, in a statement about the recipients, said the designees will receive additional set amounts from the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

The designation also guarantees dollars pledged by government bodies, some of which were contingent on NewAllen receiving the award.

The alliance represents the community and economic development concerns of Leo-Cedarville, Grabill, Harlan, New Haven, Woodburn, Monroeville and Hoagland. In September, NewAllen submitted a 232-page written plan to the state that details a $64 million list of projects spread out among the communities in the alliance.

Now with the designation, NewAllen will meet the first week of February with representatives from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to ensure the projects meet requirements.

One of the prioritized projects, Castleman said, is the second phase of the New Haven Community Center that includes expanded restroom and locker room space, estimated to cost about $1.5 million.

“I’m really proud of the collaboration (that went into creating the plan) and hope to see that continue in the future,” Castleman said.

See NewAllen’s full master plan at

This is the first year that collaborative groups of counties and communities, and not just single communities, could apply for the program. The other designee, the Health and Heritage region, represents Greenfield, Fortville and Hancock County. Some of region’s projects focus on substance abuse treatment, expanding trails and revitalizing its downtowns as it positions itself to become “the front porch of eastern Indiana,” according to the release.

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