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By J SWYGART
When it comes to landing grants, the city of Berne is on a roll.
Berne was one of nine Indiana communities named late last week as recipients of Downtown Enhancement Grants through the Indiana Main Street program. The grants are administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
According to an announcement from the office of Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, Berne was awarded $5,000 for new "wayfinding signage" to be placed throughout the community.
The grant is the third to be received by Berne in the past several months. In May, the city was awarded a $600,000 grant through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs' Community Development Block Grant program for the construction of the new water tower.
And just last month, the city was named as the recipient of a $960,000 grant that will allow the community to proceed ahead of schedule with sewer separation projects mandated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
The most recent grant award was initiated by the Berne Community Development Corporation. CDC President David Baumgartner said the money will be used to create and erect up to six signs to direct people to locations of interest within the city.
The city of Berne will provide a $5,000 match for the grant project, although some funding could be provided by sources outside city government, according to a spokeswoman for Mayor John Minch.
Speaking to the Berne City Council in August, Baumgartner said signs will likely be strategically placed along main arteries such as U.S. 27 and State Route 218. He said the signs will be "eye-catching, attractive, colorful, structurally-engineered easy-to-read guidepost signs to offer friendly assistance to drivers navigating our streets."
Baumgartner said the city will need to appoint a committee to prioritize signs and designate their strategic placement.
Indiana Main Street is a statewide program that encourages the revitalization and restoration of downtown areas in Hoosier cities and towns. The program is administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.