March 14, 2011
The Stellar Communities grant Greencastle is receiving from the State of Indiana promises to bring "some special magic" to the city, Mayor Sue Murray says. Murray (above, center-right) and DePauw University President Brian W. Casey (right) welcomed Indiana Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman in a celebration of Greencastle's award on Mar. 10.
"We are especially impressed by all of your strong partnerships, particularly between the City and DePauw University," Lt. Governor Skillman told a standing room-only crowd in the Great Hall of DePauw's Judson and Joyce Green Center for the Performing Arts. Her office says the State of Indiana expects to contribute at least $19 million to fund projects in Greencastle over the next three years. The community plans to:
- Revitalize the courthouse square and central business district with streetscape improvements, façade renovations, and signage;
- Relocate the DePauw University bookstore to the central business district;
- Add public parking solutions in the downtown area;
- Add new housing options including lofts in the commercial district and new construction in the South Court neighborhood;
- Construct a community health center and other wellness initiatives such as a walking and fitness trail;
- Partner with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to provide concerts in Greencastle, a youth orchestra program, and master music classes;
- Create a technology hub and Wi-Fi bubble in the commercial district;
- Use these projects to leverage future private investment.
"This all adds up to a very comprehensive plan that will indeed make the City of Greencastle stellar. That's what it's all about," Skillman stated.
President Casey noted, "In an era when we can work over the Internet and where we can telecommute, these livable, creative college towns are becoming the new communities of ideas and energy, music and art. Lt. Governor, you have allowed us to imagine us to imagine the next great college town – one for Indiana, one right here in Greencastle."
According to President Casey, "Colleges and universities, more often than not, turn their backs on their hometowns – they become self-referential, they think of their own thoughts, they become ivory towers, they form bubbles." He asserted, "Today, Lt. Governor, you have taken this University – one on the eve of the 175th anniversary of its founding – and you have challenged us out of our bubble. So this University, DePauw University, vows to start our next 175 years as a dynamic partner with Greencastle and with the State of Indiana."
DePauw’s campus master plan, developed with the help of Maryland consulting firm Ayers/Saint/Gross, will literally connect city and university over the coming years. The planned changes extend south from the town square and north from campus, creating a single community to be shared by all.
New brick pathways and tree plantings will also extend throughout DePauw’s campus, making it a pedestrian-friendly place for students and visitors. The current plan and mock-ups of the changes can be found one the homepage of the Office of the President, and on the Campus Planning page.
Mayor Murray called DePauw Greencastle's "longest-standing partner," an entity "that's been consistent" and has "brought richness and breadth and a lot of opportunities to our community." As the bridges between the campus and community are bolstered, she noted the "incredible amount of offerings and opportunity on the DePauw campus that our community needs to learn to take better advantage of." She and Dr. Casey both recalled having a meeting on July 1, 2008, the day Casey began serving as DePauw's nineteenth president. Murray told the crowd that with the Stellar Community proposal, "What we have worked on is opportunities" to break down barriers – physical and imagined – between the campus and community."
Forty-two Indiana communities applied for Stellar Community grants – Greencastle and North Vernon emerged as the winners. Since receiving the news, Murray – who worked closely with President Casey to craft and promote the winning proposal – says, "We have been just absolutely ecstatic and proud and pleased and honored ever since, and we will be for the rest of our Greencastle days."
An extended story, including video statements from Lt. Governor Skillman, Mayor Murray and President Casey can be read here, "Dynamic Partners" Greencastle and DePauw Celebrate Receipt of City's 'Stellar Community' Grant.Back