Town of Roann is now a member of Main Street

By Joseph Slacian

ROANN – The Town of Roann is now part of the Main Street Indiana program.

Town officials received a letter of the acceptance into the program, overseen by the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Indiana Main Street encourages community driven revitalization of downtown areas in Indiana cities and towns, according to the OCRA web page.

The community has been working about three years on the Main Street Indiana application process, according to Jo Ellen Nelson, who headed up the Roann Community Heritage Committee.

“We’re really excited,” she told The Paper of Wabash County. “It’s taken a lot of time to get everything together. We’re all very excited to read that mail.”

Roann Clerk-Treasurer Bob Ferguson also was happy to hear the news.

“I am so excited about having a Main Street organization in the Town of Roann,” he said. “This is an integrate part as we push together to the next level of improving our community and making Roann a great place for workers to live, and grow.
“This is such an exciting time for Roann. I feel very privileged to be a very small part of the growth that we see happening daily, and I want to congratulate the Main Street organization in Roann for its pursuance and tenacity to get the job done.”
Being a Main Street Program, the Town of Roann now qualifies for various grants and other benefits.

“We’re just trying to revitalize downtown and make Roann a place people want to go,” Nelson said. “We think by getting grants to upgrade services downtown and maybe bring in more business that that will be a plus.”

Applying to become a Main Street Indiana community takes quite some time, she said.

“You have to find a lot of information and get the right information that OCRA wants,” she said. “It was just a really long process finding historic information about the town, the maps for the zoning, and a lot of detail that went into to get the application finished up.

“The work on the application was a process of collecting information for business owners, a historical timeline from the founding of Roann and detailing the needs of the community. Andrea Kern, from OCRA, was a great help in guiding us through the process.”

For the application process, the committee was able to define the downtown area as being on Chippewa Street from State Road 16 south to Beamer Street.

Roann is the third Wabash County Community to be part of the Main Street Indiana program. The City of Wabash and the Town of North Manchester also are part of the program.

“We’re the smallest town that has it,” Nelson said. “We’re really excited about that.

“We are very pleased to have all of our store fronts full and hope to be able to add more business in the future.”

The committee is now attempting to get volunteers to work on committees and plan fundraisers for the community.

“We’re all just really excited and anyone willing to lend a hand please get in touch with us,” she said. “We’re looking for help to get things going.”

There are 133 Main Street Indiana programs in 81 Hoosier counties, according to the OCRA website.

Since 1985, the program has achieved:

4,289 net new & expanded businesses

27,811 net full and part time jobs

$3.3 billion in private reinvestment

$1.8 billion in public reinvestment

8,867 building rehabilitation projects

7,809 new housing units

1,662 public improvement projects

“Roann is a bedroom community, but we would like to see business expanded to make the town a destination,” Nelson said. “We are very fortunate to have the Stockdale Mill, the newly added fish ladder at the dam, the covered bridge and an original log cabin in the middle of town. The addition of the caboose, donated by Dick Siders, is another highlight.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for the Roann Main Street program should contact the Roann Town Hall, 765-833-2100.

Posted on 2019 Feb 26