FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Earlier this week Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb (R) announced that northeast Indiana would be among the next round of $50 million grant winners.
The Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) program was created to spur public/private partnerships and help economic development. Northeast Indiana represents 11 counties: Adams, Allen, Dekalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, Lagrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, and Whitley.
Now WANE 15 is taking a closer look at some of the projects hoping to take a piece of the $50 million dollars.
The projects up for the grant are outlined in the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority’s regional development plan. The group says they want to focus on projects and programs surrounding workforce growth, downtown vibrancy, and entrepreneurship and innovation.
In Warsaw, a redevelopment project has been proposed for the former Owen’s Market grocery store site. The project will turn the vacant and underutilized downtown commercial area into a four-story mixed-use development encompassing approximately 150 square feet of commercial space.
The former Parkview Hospital site less than a mile from downtown Wabash will also be turned into housing with 51 single-family new construction homebuyer units. There will also be multifamily new construction that will include 30 to 40 units.
In southeast Fort Wayne, officials have named several projects to help revitalize the area. Along with putting a grocery store and adding more housing developments on the southeast side, developers also want to create Village Premier. The mixed-income and mixed-use development will transform approximately 20 acres and cost an estimated $55 million dollars.
With COVID-19, the healthcare industry has seen a labor shortage of professionals. To help get more nurses into local hospitals, Huntington University proposed an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing. Instead of the degree taking four years it would now be 13 months. The planning phase of the program is underway and the first class could begin in the fall of 2022 or January 2023.
For years, Kendallville has worked to revitalize its downtown corridor and designate it as a historic district by the US National Register of Historic Places. Now with the city’s soon-to-be-complete $2.7 million downtown streetscape project, the next step is to help renovate 10-to-12 historic downtown buildings and add additional amenities including a bike-share program and a new park.
In Churubusco, the town is hoping to transform the former PNC Bank building downtown into the Churubusco Civic Center. The center would provide classroom space for the Churubusco Chamber and Small Business Administration to present free/low-cost classes to help entrepreneurs in developing and grow their businesses. Once the purchase is made remodeling will begin soon after in mid-2022 with the move-in date by late 2022.
Other notable projects include growing Fort Wayne’s downtown riverfront development, helping redevelop downtown Auburn, and renovating more of downtown Huntington.
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
One way to help create growth is to create places to allow for strong innovation.
In southeast Fort Wayne there are a number of projects hoping to help the area including providing small businesses and entrepreneurs with programs that provide services of education, training, monthly mentorship, and human resource/insurance support.
Further south, a multi-stakeholder collaboration will transform the former Northwest Elementary School into an education and training center that will help increase skills training, support entrepreneurship, and provide space for community services in Adams County. The 55,000 square foot facility has been named the MERIT Center.
To read more about the projects click here.