Local Group Planning To Improve Crothersville’s Image

A group of local residents from public and private sector have been meeting to formulate a Greater Crothersville Community Plan to make the community a more attractive place for business, residents and visitors and improve the local quality of life.

Organized by town council president Ardell Mitchell, the group represents local and county government, business and private interests.

Serving of the committee are Michele Teipen, Crothersville Clerk-Treasurer; Andrew Nehrt, Crothersville School Board and co-owner of Pro Form Plastics; Charles S. Murphy, Jackson County Councilman, a former Crothersville town councilman, and Jackson County Jail Commander; Curt Kovener, Vernon Township Trustee, publisher of the Crothersville Times and vice-president of Jackson County Industrial Development Corporation; Shelley Erwin, owner of McKain-Erwin, a web development & public relations firm with experience with other community plans; Linda Seal, representing the Crothersville Historical and Cultural Arts Association; along with Eric Fry and Trena Carter of Administrative Resources, who will develop the master plan following the group’s direction.

“We have been fortunate with the success of JCIDC in attracting three outstanding employers to our industrial park south of town,” said Mitchell. “ But we need a blueprint to improve the community’s image and its future for our residents and visitors.”

Among the questions the committee is including in the planning process:

•What can we do to improve the looks of downtown?

•What can we do to improve our “front door” entrances to the town at the two interstate interchanges?

• What can be done to improve the business and residential areas which cause a bad reflection on the community?

•What can be done to create and connect green spaces with walkways and bike paths?

•How can we market the community to attract new industry & business and increase population and housing opportunities?

“We have an excellent school system recognized statewide as a 4-Star educational facility and one that embraces constantly changing technology in the education process,” said Mitchell. “How do we get that message out and at the same time make the community an attractive place that parents will want to re-locate and live?”

“A comprehensive plan is not just a static document but one formulated today that can be changed as our future opportunities may dictate,” said Kovener. “ It is a guidebook that should constantly be evolving to meet the community’s interest.”

A comprehensive plan is the first step in making the community eligible for other “bricks and mortar” grants that actually result in positive, visible change.

“We first have to apply for a grant to assist us with developing a comprehensive community plan,” said Mitchell. “Once that is completed we can then seek grant funding to begin to implement some of the improvements formulated in the comprehensive plan.”

Because of the most recent housing grant administered by ARa, the group is hoping to piggyback on already completed surveys to hasten the planning grant process but the committee wants the plan to encompass not just the area inside the town limits but extending out in the township as well.

“Many people who do not live inside Crothersville still identify themselves as a part of the Crothersville community,” said Nehrt. “Those people need to be considered as we formulate the Greater Crothersville plan.”

In other to begin the grant application process for a planning grant, the town council will need to approve the group’s mission and come up with a 10% match of the maximum $40,000 cost of the planning grant.

Nehrt was to represent the community at last night’s (Aug. 7) town council meeting in outlining the group’s efforts so far and seek the town council’s approval of local match funding to proceed with a letter of intent to seek grant funding from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (IOCRA).