by Eric Stearley
On the morning of Thursday, Aug. 14, ten committee members from Wabash waited with those from five other communities at the Indiana State Fairgrounds for the designation of the 2014 Stellar Communities. The moment was years in the making and a two-hour bus ride from home.
“We were very positive,” Mayor Vanlandingham said about the atmosphere during the bus ride. “We felt good about our program, so I think when we went down, everybody was pretty upbeat and positive. We were hoping”
“I think for all of us that were riding on the bus together, there wasn’t ever really a worry, just more a feeling of great anticipation,” said Christine Flohr, committee member and executive director of tourism at the Wabash County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “There wasn’t really a worry of, ‘this is going to be devastating if we don’t receive the designation as a Stellar Community,’ more of an anticipation of, ‘it will be even greater if we get this, it will speed things up if we get this.’ It really wouldn’t have sucked the wind out of our sails if we hadn’t gotten this. I think we would have been a little disappointed, but we would have kept moving forward.”
As the group waited for the announcement, they noticed the six community groups, from Decatur, Huntingburg, Marion, Mt. Vernon, Nashville, and Wabash, were seated alphabetically in the room. When it was announced that the first Stellar Communities designee was Huntingburg, those from Wabash hoped that the two designations would come in the same order.
“They announced Huntingburg first, and we were thinking, ‘Man, I hope they’re doing this in alphabetical order,” said Patrick Sullivan, executive director of Wabash Marketplace and committee member.
“I was hoping everything was done alphabetically,” said Mayor Vanlandingham. “I was really nervous when Huntingburg got it.”