The Town of Leo-Cedarville has been awarded $750,000 in funding by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs through the Stellar Communities Program. This project is a component of NewAllen Alliance’s East Allen Rural Revival Regional Development Plan, which led to being named a Stellar Communities Designee in 2018.
“I’d like to recognize the significant long-term planning that went into making this project viable and applaud the collective efforts of those that spent countless hours on behalf of the citizens and business community of the Town of Leo-Cedarville,” said John Eastes, Leo-Cedarville’s Town Council president.
The streetscape revitalization project is located in the heart of the downtown area and includes two blocks of Center Street from Hosler Road to Walnut Street. These improvements are intended to provide the community with a pedestrian friendly streetscape environment, to increase public awareness, safety and interest in adjoining businesses. Project elements include: ADA compliant ramps and complete sidewalks, repaved streets with crosswalks and regulatory signage, new thematic lighting to improve visibility and warmth, planter boxes with greenery to offer beautification and uninterrupted sightlines, drainage upgrades to prevent flooding and erosion of streets and walkways and a downtown gathering place. The total estimated project cost is $1,178,772, which includes $750,000 of OCRA funds and $428,772 in local match funding.
“This project, along with others planned for this region, will provide an avenue for wellness initiatives, stronger connections to local businesses and a better quality of place for the downtown,” said Jodi Golden, executive director of OCRA. “The NewAllen Alliance has been a great partner with OCRA since their designation in 2018.”
Property owners along the project boundaries will be invited to an informational meeting this coming spring and will be kept informed throughout the project. Construction is anticipated to begin late spring/early summer and be completed by the fall of this year.
East Allen’s Rural Revival Plan brings together the seven communities of Harlan, Hoagland, Grabill, Leo-Cedarville, Monroeville, New Haven and Woodburn under one vision — to connect communities through improved quality of place. The plan, totaling $65 million, focuses on downtowns, parks, sidewalks, trails, housing and community health. Leo-Cedarville’s Streetscape Project is a complement to similar streetscape improvements being planned for Grabill in 2021. An additional complimentary project is the Cedar Creek Parks Trail from Allen County’s Metea Park through Leo-Cedarville and Grabill up to Hurshtown Reservoir planned for the 2021-2023 timeframe.
“I’d like to recognize the significant long-term planning that went into making this project viable and applaud the collective efforts of those that spent countless hours on behalf of the citizens and business community of the Town of Leo-Cedarville,” Eastes said. “The focus on our downtown infrastructure in the communities of East Allen is so important at the same time Fort Wayne is focusing on their core,” said Kent Castleman, president of the NewAllen Alliance. “We are excited to help make all our downtowns centers of commerce and a destination for residents and visitors to the region.”
A news release issued by the town said the project would not be possible without partnerships with: the State of Indiana, NewAllen Alliance, Engineering Resources Inc., Sturtz Public Management Group LLC, Northeastern Indiana Regional Coordinating Council and the Leo-Cedarville Foundation.
The district is served by state Sen. Dennis Kruse and state Representative Dave Heine.
Launched in 2011, the Stellar Communities Program is a multi-year, multi-million-dollar investment initiative led by OCRA. The program works with self-selected regions on their vision for community and economic development, promotes local and regional partnerships and assists in implementing innovative solutions to challenges facing Indiana’s rural communities. Funding for the program originates from the Community Development Block Grant program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.