Bluffton NOW!

What is Bluffton NOW!?

Our organization seeks to energize the community to create a “vision” for a revitalized Bluffton by: promoting a sense of community, creating inviting spaces within the city-center, providing new economic opportunities, and inspiring citizens to live in and around Bluffton's city-center.

We believe that in-order for a community to continue to thrive and grow it must actively attract and retain talented individuals. Bluffton NOW! is focused on creating a city atmosphere and vibe that attracts new, talented individuals and retains talented and passionate individuals and families who are already living in our community.

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May 13, 2015  The Bluffton Common Council put $100,000 into the Community ReInvestment Program Tuesday night, putting it into motion, and the council also signaled it would provide support for the “Tiger Tank” entrepreneurial proposal.

The CRP has been proposed by Bluffton NOW! (for New, Old, and Wonderful) as a tool to revitalize what it calls the “city-center.” The program would provide a 50 percent match on projects in downtown Bluffton up to $25,000 per project.

The council approved the additional appropriation Tuesday night, taking it out of the city’s County Economic Development Income Tax account.

The council also approved a resolution that establishes the formal mechanism for using the funds. According to the resolution, Bluffton NOW!’s approval board will review the applications and recommend reimbursement. The Bluffton Board of Public Works and Safety will have final approval over the distribution of any money.

The appropriation of the money and the resolution setting up the process were both approved on 5-0 votes by council members Jim Phillabaum, Melanie Durr, Mike Morrissey, Carl Perry, and Bette Erxleben. Council members also suspended the rules and approved the appropriation ordinance unanimously on its second reading Tuesday night.

Mayor Ted Ellis said he would bring a resolution for a $10,000 matching grant for the “Tiger Tank,” an effort to nurture a new business in the city.

The “Tiger Tank” is modeled somewhat on the “Shark Tank” reality television show, in that business plans will be presented and a winner chosen. The presenter(s) of the winning plan will receive a year of free rent of the commercial area next to the Wells County Public Library’s foyer, legal and marketing help, a $10,000 interest-free loan and a $10,000 matching grant.

It is anticipated that the $10,000 loan could come from what is known as the Keebler Fund, but that will require some additional time. A separate committee reviews the use of that money, and that group has yet to assemble.

Michael Daniels of the Wells County Chamber of Commerce was on hand for Tuesday night’s meeting, and he wants to make sure the word gets out about the competition. “We have yet to have our first application,” he said.

“We have yet to receive your first dollar, either,” Ellis said, bringing laughter to the conversation.

The council, however, will be asked to provide the $10,000 for the grant. An ordinance to that effect will be considered at the council’s next meeting on May 26.

Article by Dave Schulz, Courtesy of the News-Banner