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Gov. Pence Announces Plans To Fund Regional Development
Updated December 17, 2015 6:30 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) Board of Directors approved plans to award $126 million to support regional development plans in North Central, Northeast and Southwest Indiana.

Subject to legislative approval, each region will receive up to $42 million in state matching funds through the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative to implement their plans, which aim advance talent attraction through quality of place initiatives.

"As a destination for business, every day we see Indiana companies taking action to create new, quality jobs for hardworking Hoosiers, with more than 132,000 jobs added over the last two years," said Governor Pence. "Through the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative, we saw seven regions working in partnership to inspire and generate the development of long-term and dynamic plans that could provide the blueprints to transform our state."

The IEDC Board, chaired by Governor Pence, voted today to seek legislative approval in order to award full funding to three regions based on the financial success of the 2015 Tax Amnesty program, which has, to date, collected $137.6 million in cash payments. During the Indiana Regional Cities Strategic Review Committee's presentation to the board, the committee highlighted the bold visions planned in North Central, Northeast and Southwest Indiana.

North Central Indiana: The Innovate Indiana plan includes an unprecedented level of collaboration with the University of Notre Dame, building on the university's research and educational efforts, as well as landmark projects such as the redevelopment of the 1 million-square-foot, vacant Studebaker plant which will be transformed into an entrepreneurship and technology center of innovation. The North Central region plan consists of 39 projects with a total investment of $703 million.

"On behalf of half a million of us who live in Elkhart, Marshall and St. Joseph counties, I want to thank Governor Pence, the state legislature and the IEDC for providing such an innovative catalyst for economic development," said John Affleck Graves, executive vice president of the University of Notre Dame and chair of the Regional Development Authority for the North Central Region. "Every other state in the union is watching Indiana closely right now. And we're honored to be chosen as one of the first grant recipients. Regional Cities has already led our communities to collaborate in unprecedented ways and going forward, our responsibility is to further galvanize this new found regionalism, as we work together to create a vibrant, thriving economy in all of the South Bend-Elkhart region."

Northeast Indiana: The Road to One Million plan encompasses 11 counties and 70 projects to be implemented over the next 10 years. As the largest Regional Development Authority in the state, Northeast Indiana plans to invest more than $400 million to implement 38 projects in the next two years, including the redevelopment of Fort Wayne's riverfront and the revitalization of downtown communities across the region.

"We are now positioned to accelerate our pace and deepen our focus on building a regional city that harnesses the imaginations of our people and welcomes those from afar," said John Sampson, president and chief executive officer of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "We have the momentum and regional consensus necessary to inspire timely implementation of an investment portfolio that defines our community over the next few years and for decades thereafter. We are ready to build a bigger, bolder future for Northeast Indiana."

Southwest Indiana: This region's Indiana's Great Southwest plan encompasses 19 projects that focus on strengthening the heart of the region by leveraging the new Indiana University academic medical education and research center, improving livability and connectivity, and attracting talent and workforce to the community. With nearly every major private sector business involved in planning and funding, the region is prepared for swift implementation of these quality of place plans.

"Traditionally, the focus of economic development is about building a better climate for business," said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. "The forward thinking of the Regional Cities Initiative has been the catalyst to help us think strategically about what will attract tomorrow's workforce and how that will not only strengthen Indiana's Great Southwest, but the entire state."

Additionally, Governor Pence and the IEDC Board voted to continue to support the regional development plans in Central, East Central, Northwest and West Central Indiana. This support from the IEDC may include the identification of public or private funds to encourage and enable the continued development of regional plans and projects.

"The Indiana Regional Cities Initiative has been a catalyst for collaboration and action across the state, and it is crucial that this focus on quality of place and talent attraction continues statewide," said Governor Pence. "The initiatives planned in these regions - including connectivity projects and 16 Tech in Central Indiana, platforms to support entrepreneurship and innovation in East Central, improvements to the South Shore line in Northwest Indiana, and education-focused collaboration in West Central - focus on improving the livability of Indiana communities for the benefit of current Hoosiers and future Hoosiers."

The Indiana Regional Cities Initiative encourages communities to work together to develop and implement regional plans. After months of planning, seven regions - representing 70 percent of the state's population - submitted plans for more than 420 projects which encompass $3.78 billion in planned state, local and private sector investment.

A video debuting at the IEDC Board of Directors meeting highlights the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative, showcasing planning and projects in each of the seven regions.



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