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Upland celebrates ‘exceptional’ year

Published in the Chronicle-Tribune in January 2022

By Jaylan Miller

While many communities suffered throughout 2021, leaders of Upland stayed focused on their long term goals, officials say.

In the past year, Upland received $1.2 million from the Indiana Finance Authority Grant for storm water infrastructure, as well as $842k of Community Crossings matching grant to be used on repaving roads. Upland has received a total of $1,771,774 total of Community Crossings grants since Oct. 2017.

To date since 2017 the town has received grants awards, gifts, and relief in the amount of $6,977,623.91.

The year also included the announcement of NearSpace Launch Inc. new location at 79 S. Railroad St. for their headquarters in downtown Upland. The building will be revitalized by local developers and NearSpace Launch will employ 15 or more people working in downtown Upland.

In 2015 the Town of Upland contracted with planning firm Browning Day and in partnership with Taylor University to conduct and develop a master plan for the town identifying short and long term goals primarily regarding development, planning, and infrastructure.

“In 2015 it was an unknown as to the likelihood and feasibility of what could be consider lofty goals for a community our size. However, with great partnerships with the town’s business community and Taylor University we have seen the needle move in the right direction,” said John Bonham Upland Council President.

The town hired Town Manager Jonathan Perez in 2017.

“That master plan has been my road map the last five years,” Perez said.

Since then, Upland has invested thousands of dollars in planning documents for water, storm water, waste water, road asset inventories, income surveys, and environmental reviews among others. According to Perez, the town has more than doubled the income in the last five years, and has a general fund of around $840,000.

Looking to the new year, Perez said Upland is focusing on the revitalization of downtown and Main Street in the hopes to “dramatically improve the ‘front door’ of Upland.” The project will be funded using $1.47 million from Indiana Department of Transportation and will address primarily streetscape to start and be completed in 2023.

“2021 was an exceptional year for the town in comparison to previous exceptional years. The town has seen numerous successes in a short amount of time,” Perez said. “The Upland Town Council continually has shown a desire to invest time and resources in navigating and addressing goals outlined in their 2015 Upland Master Plan.”

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