State Commits $3M for Local Talent-Attraction Planning, Projects

State Commits $3M for Local Talent-Attraction Planning, Projects

Governor Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) Board of Directors awarded $3 million in grant funding to support quality of place improvements in east central and west central Indiana. The funding was approved at the IEDC board of directors meeting at GE Aviation in Lafayette.

“To build on Indiana’s economic success, we’re committed to helping our communities create long-term plans focused on quality of place and talent attraction,” Gov. Holcomb said. “We’re excited to see the tremendous regional collaboration occurring throughout the state.”

In 2016, both regions received $150,000 planning grants to update and refine their regional economic development plans proposed through the Regional Cites Initiative. Each plan focuses on attracting and retaining talent by enhancing connectivity, livability and culture in Indiana communities.

  • East Central: The east central region, which encompasses Blackford, Delaware, Henry, Jay, Madison and Randolph counties, will continue to diversify its regional economy and workforce by attracting the next generation of Hoosier entrepreneurs to new shared-innovation spaces. The region also aims to create a better quality of place by revitalizing its downtown areas, increasing quality housing and investing in cultural amenities. One of the region’s priority projects is to expand its existing 123 miles of multi-use trails into a regional trail system that promotes recreation, improves health and wellness and connects its regional assets.

“This plan leverages the tremendous regional asset of the Cardinal Greenway to promote economic development and improved health throughout the region,” said Corey Murphy, chair of the East Central Regional Development Authority. “It’s all about connecting people and places.”

  • West Central: The Wabash River region, which encompasses Knox, Sullivan and Vigo counties, will continue its regional collaboration efforts by focusing on increased tourism, housing, entrepreneurship and quality of place. The region plans to build a new visitors center at the historic William Henry Harrison Presidential Mansion, add affordable housing options along Vincennes’ First Street and riverfront, and create entrepreneurial space to support business growth. Additionally, the region plans to continue developing Turn to the River, which is a multi-phase project seeking to connect downtown Terre Haute to the Wabash River through public art, green space and walkway enhancements.

“The Wabash River region has tremendous potential for economic development. Riverfronts are an attractive destination for families and our goal is to continue working with communities all along the historic Wabash to utilize the riverfront to benefit the development of downtown areas, enhance the ability to attract businesses, and create a more desirable convention and visitor environment,” said Phil Rath, chair of the Wabash River Regional Development Authority.

“Investing in projects that promote quality of life through tourism, housing, entrepreneurship and outdoor amenities is a winning strategy for attracting and retaining talent to support the regional economy. The Regional Cities program helped raise the profile of a number of projects in the area and created many synergies that have spurred collaboration in the region. The first phase of several of these projects including the Harrison Presidential Visitors Center and adjacent housing development as well as the transformational Turn to the River initiative are well underway. We are excited to keep this momentum going and are grateful for this opportunity supported by Gov. Holcomb and the IEDC,” said Rath.

The $1.5 million awarded to each region was part of Gov. Holcomb’s 2017 Next Level Agenda to continue the regional economic development momentum created by the Regional Cities Initiative. Under Gov. Holcomb’s leadership, Indiana is committed to supporting the best elements of the Regional Cities Initiative and similar programs dedicated to quality of place, encouraging communities to plan for their future and ensuring these efforts are sustainable.

Since launching the program in 2015, the IEDC has approved $116.3 million in state funding for 59 projects, totaling $1.24 billion investment which represents a 9.6-to-1 investment leverage ratio.

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