What is the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative?
Proposed by the Governor Mike Pence in 2014-15 legislative session, the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative (HB 1403) sets the framework for neighboring communities across the state to work together to develop vision and action plans for quality of place initiatives, with plans for at least $1 billion in joint private and public investment over the next decade. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is tasked with reviewing regional proposals and awarding matching funds in order to facilitate significant and meaningful investment in the region.
With legislation authored by Rep. Jerry Torr (R-Carmel) and sponsored by Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative has sparked action across the state as multiple regions have formed steering committees and held public forums with hundreds of civic and business leaders to identify key areas for regional advancement.
Three Regions Receiving $126 Million in Matching Funds
As part of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative’s first phase, the state selected North Central, Northeast and Southwest Indiana to receive $42 million each in matching funds to support their regional development plans.
North Central: Through the Innovate Indiana Plan, North Central Indiana is planning 40 regional development projects with $736.93 million in investment, including renovations to South Bend’s former Studebaker buildings and improvements to Ignition Park.
Northeast: Northeast Indiana’s Road to One Million Plan encompasses 41 regional development projects, including a regional trails network and riverfront development in downtown Fort Wayne, with investments planned at $471.67 million.
Southwest: Indiana’s Great Southwest plan focuses on 19 regional development projects, including a medical research center in downtown Evansville and updates to the Evansville Regional Airport, which total $926.35 million in planned investment.
Additionally, the IEDC encourages other regions across the state to embrace regionalism and long-term planning focused on quality of place.
In addition to these three regions, the IEDC continues to support and collaborate with regions around the state. In October 2016, the IEDC Board of Directors awarded $150,000 planning grants to Central, East Central, Northwest and West Central (Wabash River Region) to support and encourage continued quality of place planning and development efforts. During the 2017 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly created the Business Promotion and Innovation Fund, which can be used for continued regional planning across the state in an effort to retain and attract top talent to Indiana.
For more information on the Indiana Regional Development Authority Initiative, visit https://iedc.in.gov/programs/regional-cities-initiative
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