FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — With an emphasis on building vibrant downtowns and attracting workers and entrepreneurs, the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority submitted its “Growing With Vision” plan to win $50 million from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).

Governor Eric Holcomb created the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) program to spur public/private partnerships. Northeast Indiana represents 11 counties: Adams, Allen, Dekalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, Lagrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley.

Across Northeast Indiana, the READI funding request totaled $439,513,646.88.

“Citing regional focus groups, data and research, the plan explores the significant opportunities ahead for the region, which would be catalyzed and accelerated if the region receives READI funding,” said a press release to announce the proposal.

Highlights of the 308-page proposal include multiple new housing projects, support for Southeast Fort Wayne, a Fort Wayne arts campus, along with downtown projects in Churubusco, Kendallville, Huntington and Auburn.

The proposal makes a heavy push for more riverfront development in Fort Wayne, including the city’s Phase III and North River Property projects, adding “Fort Wayne’s dramatic turnaround is perhaps best embodied in its emerging riverfront district.”

Projects are detailed by the amount of READI money they would like, the additional funding sources required and the impact each project will have.

Next steps include: 

  • October-November 2021 – The IEDC board of directors will form a READI review committee to evaluate regional development plans. Each region will have the opportunity to present its vision, goals and strategies that will positively impact the area’s quality of place and quality of life, innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent attraction and development. The committee will establish criteria to evaluate the plans and will host a series of review meetings that will be open to the public. 
  • December 2021 – The review committee will make funding recommendations to the IEDC board of directors. Once approved, the IEDC will award READI funding to selected regions to advance implementation of the projects and programs designed to catalyze economic growth and talent development in Indiana.