Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

January 29, 2014

Main Street plans festival; council hears funding asks

By Boris Ladwig Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG – Main Street Greensburg plans to launch a tenderloin festival this summer to raise funds and to bring more residents and visitors to the city’s downtown.

Executive Director Sarah Robinson announced the plans in Monday’s City Council meeting, in which local and regional organizations asked the Council for funds to support their causes. Main Street requested $30,000, the same as in prior years, while the total requests of the nine agencies reached $170,000.

The Council took all requests under advisement and will make decisions in upcoming meetings.

Robinson said she expects the tenderloin festival to include a judged contest with participants from across the state — though plans are still in the early stages. The downtown festival should draw more people into the city’s center to support local business, she said.

Main Street also will co-host a business seminar, “Staying Relevant to a Changed Customer,” on Feb. 21, together with the Greensburg/Decatur County Chamber of Commerce and Southeast Indiana Small Business Development Center.

Meanwhile, Robinson said other efforts, including the farmers’ market, Movies on the Lawn, the Fisher 5 Mile Big Wheel Race and the Holiday Walk all are scheduled to return this year.

Marc Coplon, executive director of the Greensburg/Decatur County Economic Development Corp., requested from the City Council $60,000, the same as last year. The agency also typically receives $60,000 from the Decatur County Council.

Coplon said economic development, city and county officials have successfully brought new businesses to Decatur County and Greensburg and have supported existing businesses that have reinvested in the community. The combined efforts have resulted in millions of dollars in new investments, new jobs and a better quality of life in the community.

Councilman Glenn Tebbe said that he would like to get an update on the agency’s impact more than once a year, and Coplon said he would be happy to provide the same quarterly updates he gives to county government.

Jim Cummings, director of the Greensburg Community Learning Center, requested $15,000 from the Council and said he usually also receives $10,000 from the county.

Cummings said the Learning Center has significantly expanded its capabilities and now houses Head Start, Ivy Tech, Work One, but also has launched GED instruction and a free program to help students prepare for college.

Cummings also said that he is working with IUPUC to bring bachelor’s degree programs to the Learning Center in Greensburg, but low enrollment has remained a challenge.

Diane Moore, executive director of New Directions, a center for victims of abuse, said the need for funding remains high, as the agency in 2013 served a larger number of primary and secondary victims than in the prior year.

Moore said the staff has great partnerships with local law enforcement agencies and responds to abuse situations any time of day and night.

She requested funding of $20,000, the same as last year.

Other funding requests included:

$20,000 from Greensburg Community Bread of Life. Administrative Assistant Kim Porter said the a partnership the agency formed last year with Gleaners Food Bank has allowed access to food from more sources. And, she said, the agency also has been able to get a greater variety of foods, including meat, canned goods and fresh produce. Porter said Bread of Life would like to train some of its patrons to get jobs in the food industry. About 60 percent of the agency’s funding comes from donations from individuals and businesses, about 30 percent comes from grants, and the remainder from events.

Up to $10,000 from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Decatur County. Executive Director Bev Karazsia told Council members that the organization hoped to get by with only $5,000 from the Council, but would like to have the opportunity to come back for an additional $5,000 in case some of its fundraisers do not generate as much money as expected. Matthew Gauck, a board member of the organization, said the program continues to grow, and the agency has not given any raises in four years.

$5,000 from the Southeast Indiana Small Business Development Center. Business Advisor Eric Kranz said the center had worked with 41 clients through November of last year and supported the creation of four new businesses and two expansions and helped with investments and loans for a total capital infusion in Decatur County of about $656,000.

$5,000 from Greensburg Community Schools to help pay for the salary of Bruce Copple, director of building security and safety. Superintendent Tom Hunter said Copple plays a critical role in providing safety for the students and CPR training for school personnel. Hunter said Copple does a lot of police work with juveniles that other officers would have to tackle if his position did not exist. The superintendent said Copple also provides vital services related to protection against violence and weapons.

$5,000 for Catch-A-Ride, which provides transportation in six counties including Decatur. Director Erin Catford said the organization provides about 1,300 trips a month to anyone who lives in the counties that are being served. Fares cost $1.50 for the first five miles and 25 cents per mile after that. People with permanent disabilities or who are older than 65 or younger than 13 can ride for an initial charge of 75 cents, plus 25 cents for every mile above five. The service, which also accepts Medicaid, runs weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and can be scheduled up to a week in advance: 800-330-7603.

Contact: Boris Ladwig 812-663-3111 x7401; boris.ladwig@greensburgdailynews.com