Culver breaking ground on 'stellar' project

NOW: Culver breaking ground on ’stellar’ project

CULVER, Ind. - Culver is breaking ground on its premiere 'stellar' project after earning the state designation of 'Stellar Community' in October. 

The potentially game-changing project is a new workforce housing complex called Sand Hill Farm.

ABC 57 first introduced you to the development project back in August, when the town was still in the midst of the application process.

“Culver has a strong tourism economy, and so we were sort of known as a summer vacation spot, and the focus for us for Stellaris making us a stellar town year round, so we’re contributing to lifestyle and business year round and not just in the summer months," said the President of the Culver Town Council, Ginny Munroe.

Through the Stellar Communities program, the state awards often millions of dollars to small towns with big goals to improve their communities.

President Munroe says Culver's population has decreased by about 100 people in the past decade.

She says schools have also seen a decline, with enrollment dropping from 1,150 to 850 students in ten years.

In addition to the population decreases, one of the town's top employers, Elkay Wood Products, says their workers have nowhere to live.

“Right now, less than 15% of their employees live in Marshall County, so they’re all traveling in to come here, so we need housing for those workers when they start," said the developer of Sand Hill Farm, Kevin Berger.

The goal is to transform three of the 14 acres they annexed into a brand new apartment complex by the start of the 2018 school year.

The project costs a total of $3.8 million, with Regional Cities funding funneling in $270,000 and the town contributing $830,000.

Stellar Communities money would go toward a future expansion.

“These are facilities that are going to bring in families. That’s what they’re geared towards, and its central location here, makes it walking distance to everything," said Berger.

In fact, Elkay sits right across the street.

"I think that’s just going to be a boon," he said.

“People are stepping up here to solve our challenges, and that’s why we are a Stellar Community," said Munroe.

Upon its completion, Sand Hill Farm will have a total of 24 apartments available for rent in 2018: two one-bedroom apartments, 14 two-bedroom apartments, and eight three-bedroom apartments.

The average cost of a two-bedroom will be about $850 a month.

The town council president says some of the other projects to which they'll be directing 'Stellar' funding are a bike path around the lake, renovations to the beach lodge, and a sports complex at the high school.

Local and state officials will be officially breaking ground on Sand Hill Farm Wednesday at 3 p.m.

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