GREENFIELD — The city of Greenfield was passed over for a $5,000 grant program aimed at connecting community leaders with economic development experts.
The city had been named a semifinalist for the Hometown Collaboration Initiative, a statewide program that works with community leaders to plan a development project and offers grant dollars to support it. It’s offered through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and other economic and community development groups.
Greenfield had been named one of six semifinalists for the program; the city of Auburn, Orange, Spencer and Vermillion counties were chosen to participate.
The program comprises a yearlong process focused on data, research and planning that culminates in a community project of the city’s choice and $5,000 to support it.
Joanie Fitzwater, planning director for the city, said Greenfield officials are disappointed but will continue to work with business owners and economic development leaders in the community to pinpoint ways the city can nurture the business community despite not being chosen for the program.
When reviewing why the city wasn’t selected, Fitzwater learned the selection committee didn’t think the program was the best fit for Greenfield because the city already has identified a strong vision for its future through its long-term plan and downtown revitalization plan.
The city has identified a number of catalyst projects in its updated comprehensive plan — a blueprint for the city’s future growth — to enhance economic development in Greenfield. One of those projects the city could consider is an incubator program, in which the community would set up office space for startup businesses to use in hopes of sparking more economic development.
Those possible projects won’t be off the table just because the community wasn’t picked for the state program, Fitzwater said. The group still will focus on identifying a large project and making it a reality, she said.
Retta Livengood, director of the Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce, was part of the committee that applied for the program. She’s disappointed the community wasn’t selected as a finalist but is encouraged to hear the committee studying Greenfield’s business community isn’t disbanding, she said.
Strengthening support for existing businesses and developing small businesses will make Greenfield a more attractive community for businesses to locate in, Livengood said, and that’s has a positive impact on the whole community.
“When I look at all the resources we have, I get excited,” she said.