In 2015, the Indiana Regional Cites Initiative
brought together 48 counties across the state, and hundreds of local city leaders with one goal in mind: “Making Indiana a great place to both live and work.” Seven regions presented their visions for the future and competed for a chance at $84 million in funding. At a meeting held in Indianapolis yesterday, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) announced it has awarded three Phase I regional development plans, North Central, Northeast, and Southeast $42 million each in funding to help address projects identified in those regions’ plans. Members of the Strategic Review Committee and the IEDC both noted the difficulty of the decision, as they felt that all seven region’s plans were outstanding.
“East Central Indiana’s plan, Advance – A Vision for East Central Indiana, was not one of the grant recipients in this funding round, but that does not diminish the value and importance of building and implementing an innovative regional economic development plan. Addressing opportunities to enhance quality of life in our cities and region are critical to our growth and prosperity,” said Dennis Tyler, Mayor of Muncie. “The execution of the plan will continue, as we have created a roadmap that is bold, yet achievable,” added Tyler.
The Advance plan is truly a regional effort, and was born from hundreds of people attending planning summits, providing feedback via the Advance website, and interacting through email and social media platforms. The focus of the plan is on talent attraction and retention, which centers around five core challenges facing the region. Those challenges are (1) demographic shifts, (2) real estate values, (3) talent attraction, (4) industry value capture, and (5) new business starts. The East Central Advance Plan identified 14 projects totaling $147.9 million, and included a Regional Cities grant request of $23.4 million. The Advance eight-year plan and is a working document, and it is anticipated that new projects and/or directives will be added in the future as the East Central Indiana region continues to evolve.
"I salute the IEDC for their leadership and our local and regional government, community, and citizen leaders that came together to develop this important document that will help grow our Region in the decades ahead," said Steve Moore, past Chairman of Delaware Advancement Corporation and Vision 2016