Highland Town Council President Bernie Zemen announced that the Town of Highland has been awarded a $50,000 Place Based Investment Fund (PBIF) grant through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD), to refurbish the Town Theatre’s marquee and façade. The grant award was announced yesterday in a press release from Indiana Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb’s office, which oversees OCRA and IOTD. Highland was one of only two Indiana communities to receive this grant award.
The Lt. Governor’s press release stated that “…The Town of Highland has been awarded $50,000 towards their Highland Town Theater Project. The project will consist of major renovation to a focal downtown building which was strategically chosen to serve as a catalyst for other business improvements in the area…” Lt. Governor Holcomb commented that the grant funds for Highland will “…benefit residents and local businesses and serve as a tourism driver for the community..."
Redevelopment Director Cecile Petro said the Highland Redevelopment Commission applied for the PBIF grant earlier this Fall. The Commission partnered with Highland Main Street, the South Shore Convention and Visitor’s Authority, and the Town Theatre Board. In addition, Petro said the grant application also included letters of support from the Highland Griffith Chamber of Commerce, the Highland Community Foundation and the Highland Women’s Club.
Zemen said “I am very pleased about the grant and thank OCRA and IOTD for finding our Town Theatre project to be a business and tourism catalyst for our community. I would also like to thank our local partners and supporters, and especially all of the volunteers who have offered to work on the operation of the theatre, once the project is completed.”
The PBIF program is a competitive matching grant program administered as a partnership between OCRA and IOTD. The grant program supports community and economic development projects that promote quality of life, improve tourism experiences and develop multi-purpose gathering places. “I continue to be impressed by the quality of proposals we receive,” said Mark Newman, IOTD Executive Director. "The intent of this fund is to reward creativity and resourcefulness.” “PBIF provides a two-fold benefit for the community and the partnership between OCRA and IOTD brings our collective expertise to support their project,” said Bill Konyha, OCRA Executive Director. “We not only touch upon the tourism aspect but also assist rural communities to benefit from improving their quality of place.”
Petro said the architectural planning is almost complete, and she expects the project to go out to bid on or around November 7th. Once bids are received, the project will be presented to the Town Council for final approval on the issuance of bonds to fund the overall renovation.