Grant Funding Available to Jasper Residents

The Jasper City Council met on Wednesday with a full agenda to hear from local organizations and departments integral to the community. 

Fire Chief Kenny Hochgesang provided a comprehensive departmental report to the Council. He noted that approximately 65% of their calls are medical. With that in mind, Chief Hochgesang mentioned that the recently-purchase Lucas devices have already proven invaluable. The department used one of the new devices as recently as this Wednesday morning in a medical call. One will eventually be available in each fire station. He also explained that there were 3 larger fires last year, and the department is continually looking for ways to prepare for these kinds of events. There will be a Fire School at the end of March at Vincennes University, which provides good opportunities for local firefighters from Jasper as well as the surrounding areas to get critical training. 

Chief Hochgesang also gave a brief overview of the ISO rating, which is a scoring metric given to fire departments and insurance companies by the Insurance Services Office. It rates a community’s fire protection using criteria like water supply, dispatch centers, number of calls, terminals, and staff, generators, equipment, training, and other factors. The ISO rating metric is the same for full-time and volunteer departments. Currently, Jasper’s ISO rating is at a class 4. Only 17% of stations in Indiana have a class 4 or better. 

Heart of Jasper, represented by Kate Schwenk, gave the Council an overview of its accomplishments in 2023 and expected projects in 2024. There are 4 subcommittees within the organization. The Economic Vitality Committee, which manages the Façade Grants, selected 7 out of 14 applications in 2023 as recipients. 2024 applications close this week, with 6 applicants so far. The New Business Incentive Committee holds open house tour events for unoccupied downtown commercial spaces. There are currently 10 open spaces in the Heart of Jasper, which they are hoping to fill this year. The Design Committee has provided the downtown district with public art and decorative lighting. They hope to complete the other Asta alley’s refurbishment in 2024. In addition, they invested in CDs last year to generate income to maintain those art spaces. The Promotion Committee promotes downtown activation, driving foot traffic to downtown. They support events like Movies on Main at the Astra, Music on Main, Downtown Chowdown, Shop n Sip, and upcoming new events like Family Fun Day on the Square and Meal on Main. The Organizational Committee’s goal is to apply for accreditation for Main Street, which would allow Jasper to qualify for additional grant funding. 

Jenny Mathies of Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission provided an update on the HELP Grant/Owner Occupied Rehab Program. These grant funds will total 1 million dollars. 300 thousand dollars will be allotted to Head Start, and 700 thousand dollars has been earmarked for the Rehab Program, which will be open to residents throughout the county. The program is based on income and family size. Approved items include roof repair or replacement, water heater replacement, HVAC updates, electrical system upgrades and lighting, and ADA accessibility to the threshold of the home. For application information, email [email protected] or call 812-367-8455. Mathies said that she often hears that Dubois residents have the reputation of being proud of their homes and their towns. She explained that, “Residents may be very proud of where they live, but just need that little bit of help.” Assistance will be available to residents who need help with the application process. Paper copies are also available for those who would prefer a hard copy. 

 For more information on these and other updates, visit or JasperGov-Indiana on Facebook. 

 - By Drew Hasselbring