Seven months after Gov. Eric J. Holcomb’s announcement on Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) funding, Northeast Indiana projects are being submitted for some of the funding.
“The portal is up and running,” Ryan Twiss, vice president of Regional Initiatives at Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, responded July 1. “We’re currently accepting applications and have had a handful of submissions so far.”
A Catch-22 dealing with the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority lacking a number that the federal government uses to identify vendors, which being a quasi-governmental unit created by legislation it didn’t have, has been resolved.
At the authority’s June 14 meeting, it agreed with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to give $3 million in READI funding to Fort Wayne International Airport’s expansion plan in return for $3.5 million in redevelopment tax credits.
“We’re excited to partner with the airport to make that move forward,” Michael Galbraith, administrator to the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority, said after the meeting. “I think it’s a great fix to be able to do that and it helps us continue to deploy more flexible funds throughout the region.”
As state, not federal, funds, the tax credits have fewer restrictions tied to them for how they’re used.
In December, Holcomb named Northeast Indiana as one of 17 regions to get a portion of $500 million. Northeast Indiana’s “Growing With Vision Plan” — which includes projects in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties — resulted in it being awarded $50 in READI funding.
Some of the proposed projects are recreational, such as the proposed Poka-Bache Trail Connector, costing nearly $9 million, to link 81 miles between Pokagon State Park in Angola to Oubache State Park in Bluffton. Others, like the Invest DeKalb, totaling nearly $3.81 million, touch on multiple areas. The DeKalb County project includes downtown redevelopment of approximately 45,000 square feet of new build construction for retail, office and residential space. Meanwhile, Whitley County’s Churubusco Civic Center project, estimated at $395,400, would transform the 13,800-square-foot former PNC Bank building to space that would include classrooms to conduct entrepreneurship classes and other adult education opportunities.
Now projects that were listed in the plans, and even those that weren’t, can apply for money.
On June 30, Holcomb and Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers announced that READI programs are beginning to move forward across the state. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation is on track to designate 40% — or $200 million — of the initiative’s grant funds to projects and programs in 10 regions by the end of July and expects to designate the remaining $300 million in all 17 regions by the end of The year, accelerating shovel-ready projects and programs that are expected to transform Indiana communities, attract talent and improve the quality of life in the short and long term, according to the IEDC.
Collectively, the state’s investment is expected to yield an additional $9.86 billion public, private and nonprofit dollars invested (19.72:1 investment leverage ratio).