Approximately 40 people attended a special ceremony at Booker’s Restaurant in downtown Kirklin Wednesday afternoon including Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch.
The occasion was to award the Town of Kirklin a $600,000 Main Street Revitalization grant check from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). Kirklin is one of 17 communities who received funding during round one of the 2019 Community Development Block Grants.
“Our small rural communities are the heartland of our great state,” said Crouch. “The heartbeat of every rural community is a vibrant downtown. Today, we celebrate the award of $600,000 to the Town of Kirklin to be able to develop their downtown, to make it safe for their residents and be able to add to their quality of life.”
Crouch said downtown revitalization is really economic development.
“It’s well documented about the benefits of downtown revitalization,” said Crouch. “When communities invest in their downtown it results in greater property values, it increases jobs and it attracts tourists to the downtown area, all of which are a direct benefit to the community making that investment.”
Joining Crouch at the event were Jodi Golden, who is the executive director of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Kirklin Town Council Members and Kirklin Main Street Board Members. Also in attendance was State Senator Brian Buchanan, State Representative Heath VanNatter, Clinton County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shan Sheridan, Farmers Bank President and CEO Karen Gregerson and Clinton County Republican Party Chairman Jim Moyer.
Kirklin Main Street Vice Chairman Dan Mann was asked what receiving the grant means to Kirklin.
“This is a huge project for this town,” said Mann. “When we came into town 10 years ago, none of this was here. There were a few buildings and there were very few businesses. Seeing that grow and seeing people believe in the idea coming into town is huge. Getting a grant like this is gigantic.”
Mann added the town is also getting help from the Indiana Department of Transportation.
“They’re redoing the corners,” said Mann. “We gave them our design preferences two years ago and they took that under consideration. They are actually bumping out those corners partly because they are very safety conscious and that’s going to make it safer.”
Mann added he believes that INDOT will be upgrading the traffic lights from the two that are currently there to four — one on each corner.
Crouch also said that smaller towns and communities helps hold the entire state together.
“We are only as great as our small communities here in Indiana,” said Crouch. “When they thrive, the State of Indiana thrives. People don’t realize that 83 percent of Indiana geographically is farmland, woodland and forest land.”
Mann said this project has been a total community effort.
“There’s a lot of people that have committed to Kirklin, Indiana,” Mann said. “Without their energy, their commitment, you couldn’t have this. The community has really come together as a whole. The leadership has come together and everybody’s kind of driving in the same direction. It’s just been really, really fun.”