2010 GAMSA Semifinalist Farmland, Indiana

By far the major outcome achieved by our group has been the complete revitalization of a dying community. Among the greatest achievements toward this success have been the creation of the Farmland Cultural Center, the promotion of our community to a nationwide audience, and the beautification and preservation of our historic downtown business district. The cultural center was created out of an abandoned storefront and now serves as the home of a revolving art exhibit, public music and theatre performances, a home for community rentals, and more than a dozen major public events each year. The promotion of the community has included high-profile projects such as "The Courthouse Girls" documentary movie as well as cooperative advertising campaigns with the downtown merchants association. Downtown beautification and preservation projects have included streetscaping; facade repair; and the restoration and installation of benches, trash cans, planters, street lights, and slate sidewalks.

The Numbers

Population: 1,450
Net number of new jobs: 36
Net number of new businesses: 9
Number of building rehabilitations: 10
Number of new buildings: 0
Vacancy rate when the program began: 70%
Vacancy rate today: 10%
Dollar amount of public investment: $2,000,000
Dollar amount of private investment: $1,000,000

In Their Own Words

By applying and closely following the Main Street Four Point Approach®, we have been able to transform our entire community into something completely new and different, but with great reverence for the past and a commitment to preserving Farmland's heritage. We have taken a dying town with little or no community spirit and a commercial district filled with decaying buildings and turned it into a community that takes pride in its rebirth, a downtown filled with new businesses operating out of restored historic buildings, and a community spirit not experienced here in decades. There is a greater awareness within the state, the region, and the entire nation of our tiny little farming town in the middle of Indiana. Many communities our size and with similar demographics and history have dried up and blown away, been absorbed into larger cities, or lost their unique identity. Thanks to the Main Street Approach, our community has lived to see a new day and is actively working to realize a future that is brighter than its past without losing sight of the history that makes us who we are today.