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Grant to fund Harmony community center

Friday, November 25, 2005

Harmony residents will soon have access to a new community center, thanks to the efforts of the town board and a grant from the Indiana Office of Rural Affairs.

The $480,000 grant will fund the construction of a 4,800 square foot structure facility at the corner of U.S. 40 and Border Street in Harmony. The multi-use building will include a banquet hall, a meeting room, an office and storage space. Harmony Town Council President Janice Gooch said the council has been considering the community center project for some time.

"We've saved money for several years to get started on this, and we just decided now is the time," said Gooch.

The town will receive a grant in the amount of $480,000, part of the second round of funding distributed through the Community Development Block Grant Program in 2005. According to a press release from Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman's office, the grant is intended to fund improvements to childcare facilities, senior centers, downtown revitalization projects and other community-accessible facilities. Communities applying for the grant are required to match 10 percent of the amount requested.

"The Office of Rural Affairs is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Hoosiers who reside in our small cities, towns and counties, but this is a task state government cannot do alone," Skillman said in a press release. "It requires a partnership with local leaders and community organizations."

The town council has begun the process of soliciting bids on the project from construction firms. Gooch said construction will likely begin sometime in February, with a tentative completion date of November 2006.

In the past, civic organizations and other clubs in Harmony have been forced to travel to neighboring towns to meet and host functions. Gooch said the facility will allow residents to keep community activities in the community.

"It means a lot," she said. "We can pull the people together and have something here rather than to have to go elsewhere to have our functions."

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