Steller honor boosts community enhancements

Culver is now a Stellar Community. // WSBT 22 Photo

A small local town has received a special honor. Culver is now a Stellar Community.

People there celebrated the achievement Wednesday with a Stellarbration.

Culver has big plans for the future. The Stellar Community Program is designed to help communities address issues like population growth, attracting private investment and economic improvement.

Culver came up with a plan to face those challenges and make Culver not just a vacation destination, but a permanent place to live.

People who live in the picturesque lakeside town of Culver say it's a wonderful place.

For sisters Monica Cox and Caroline Podvin, it's perfect. They say they're honored to be in one of two Stellar Communities.

"I feel like Culver is in the same zip code as heaven. I love Culver. I fell in love with it 30 years ago when my husband and I first came through," said Cox.

"There's some very wealthy people who live around the lake, that live on the lake, and then there's the rest of us that live in moderate houses and watch our dollars and pennies. But we all try to give back," said Podvin.

Known as a tourist destination and retirement community, the town has struggled to attract permanent residents.

The result, a stagnant workforce and decreasing school population.

Town Council President Ginny Munroe says the goal is to improve the way of life in Culver and provide more affordable options for people to live.

"It's not that I don't want to see us be a tourist town or vacation destination, or a great place to visit. It will always be that," said Munroe.

Projects include a new housing development, creating a bike and walking trail and renovations to this historic beach lodge.

In 20 years, Munroe hopes to see that change.

"I'd like to see families. I'd like to see our school population increase dramatically, have kids who are playing in this park, playing in these facilities, on this bike and walking path. I want to see a healthy thriving community that's sustainable and I think we've really made strides to do that," said Munroe.

Normally the projects Culver has planned would take about 10 years to complete. The Stellar Communities Program provides funding from state agencies, meaning things will get done a lot sooner.

Several of those projects have already started. They broke ground on the housing development Wednesday. Those improvements should be finished in about four years.

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