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10/10/2017 4:03:00 PM
Little budgets, big dreams: How small towns are making their visions a reality

Corey Ohlenkamp, Star Press

DALEVILLE – Hundreds of people this summer flocked to Daleville’s splash pad, which opened in June 2017 at the Town Hall Park, but many might ask how did a small town like Daleville afford a nearly $4 million dollar park?

Small rural towns across Delaware County have some big projects going on, with wider reach than many thought possible. A small town like Gaston has managed to work on streetscape and infrastructure projects in a far shorter time frame than imagined. Other towns like Eaton and Selma are finding small projects that are making a difference for their communities.

This culmination of development and investment, according to those involved, is a mixture of vision and the people who know how to make it happen.

It is a common problem that the smaller the town, the smaller the budget and the less time elected officials have to work on projects. While each town might have different needs, the average town board member doesn’t have the time to supervise a project from start to finish, with even fewer knowing the ins and outs of possible projects.

The wish lists for various small towns are usually different.

Something like a new snowplow isn’t as big of a deal for a larger community like Muncie or Yorktown, but in Selma, updating a snowplow from the 1970’s is a huge step forward, according to Brad Bookout, the owner of Augusta Consulting.

Augusta does consulting with several municipalities across the area, filling a need for guidance in working through the hurdles and funding solutions that can keep a project from ever taking off.

According to Tom Roberts, a town board member in Daleville, part of the reason there is a need for outside experts is that many small municipality leaders hold other jobs. Rarely are they experts in grants, alternate funding sources or all the other red tape that projects can present; let alone do they have the time to dedicate to projects.

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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