What is Stellar?

The Stellar Communities Program is housed in the State of Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). The program is based on the belief that when people work collaboratively, they find a way to make good things happen. OCRA works with partners which include the Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and the Indiana Department of Health, putting planning and funding behind this belief.  They offer outside expertise, encouragement, and matching funding to help communities realize their dreams.

The “Safe and Welcome” region, consisting of Henry County, New Castle, and Knightstown, is one of four finalists vying to become Stellar Communities 2019 Designee. The three communities comprising “Safe and Welcome” were selected for this year’s regional entry because all entities have a formal comprehensive plan on file, and each area had projects in the “pipeline” over time.


In terms of “feeling safe,” the region will add to its already impressive efforts to make visitors and residents feel safe. In addition to Henry Community Health, a growing and award-winning healthy system, the region is paying attention to developing healthier environments. These efforts include more sidewalks, better roads, infrastructure improvements, sanitary sewer expansion, and better signage.  There is a plan to create an advanced EMS and EMT training facility to maintain excellence in service.


“Glad you’re here!”  The mission to promote a welcoming community is not just for those who visit. It’s for those who choose to live here, too. The focus is on creating a quality of life that is so remarkable that people want to move here, want to work here, want to stay here. Projects like the Henry County Expo Center, Knightstown Library upgrade, and skatepark addition will positively impact the community while also attracting new visitors.