The Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), spearheaded by Governor Eric J. Holcomb to accelerate strategic investments in Hoosier communities, has attracted participation from counties, cities and towns spanning 91 of Indiana’s 92 counties. Together, these communities have come together to form 18 regions that will collaborate to develop bold, strategic plans to accelerate small- and large-scale growth within their communities and work to secure matching funds through the state’s $500 million initiative.
“READI will help harness a natural synergy of regional economic development leaders and private industry professionals to implement strategic investments in quality of place and innovation,” said Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “We encourage stakeholders to collaborate and think big. Focus not only on shovel-ready, but on multi-year programs to develop talent, drive innovation and improve the quality of life which will transform our great Hoosier state for future generations to come.”
This marks the first step in the process for Indiana READI, which is designed to propel public-private investments in quality of place and quality of life, innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent attraction and development. The 18 regions that have indicated their intent to pursue READI funding are outlined below; regions may be further refined or consolidated in the coming weeks. Next, these regions will create regional development plans that show how the region will be transformed from its current state to one that leverages unique opportunities and removes barriers to growth to advance its future.
- North Central, led by the North Central Indiana Regional Planning Council
Counties: Cass, Clinton, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Tipton
- South Bend/Elkhart, led by the Northern Indiana Regional Development Authority
Counties: Elkhart, Marshall, St. Joseph
- Northwest, led by the Northwest Indiana Forum
Counties: Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, Pulaski, Starke
- Southern Indiana, led by the Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority
Counties: Clark, Floyd, Jefferson, Scott, Washington
- Evansville, led by the Southwest Indiana RDA (SWIRDA)
Counties: Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh, Warrick
- East Central, led by the East Central IN Regional Partnership
Counties: Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Henry, Jay, Randolph, Wayne
- West, led by the Wabash River RDA
Counties: Clay, Knox, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo
- Northeast, led by the Northeast Indiana RDA
Counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Kosciusko, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, Whitley
- West Central, led by the West Central Indiana Alliance
Counties: Boone, Hendricks, Montgomery, Putnam
- Southeast, led by SEI READI Inc.
Counties: Dearborn, Ohio, Switzerland, Union, Franklin, Ripley (excludes city of Batesville)
- Accelerate Rural Indiana, led by the Decatur County Community Foundation
Counties: Decatur, Rush, Shelby
- I-69 Southern Gateway, led by the Morgan County Community Foundation
Counties: Johnson and Morgan
- Greater Lafayette Region, led by the Greater Lafayette Commerce Community and Economic Development Foundation
Counties: Benton, Carroll, Fountain, Tippecanoe, Warren, White
- Indiana First Region, led by the Southwest Indiana Development Council
Counties: Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Harrison, Knox, Martin, Pike, Orange, Spencer, Perry
- Central Indiana-White River Regional Opportunity Initiative, led by the Central Indiana Regional Development Authority and Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization
Counties: Hamilton, Madison, Marion
- 70-40 Greater Mt. Comfort Corridor, led by the Hancock County Economic Development Council
Counties: Hancock, Marion
- South Central Indiana Talent Region, led by the Southern Indiana Housing and Community Development Corporation
Counties: Bartholomew, Jackson, Jennings
- The Indiana Uplands, led by the Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc.
Counties: Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, Washington
Across the state, regions are already convening broad, diverse groups of stakeholders, including major employers and anchor institutions, education partners, economic development professionals, philanthropy partners, and elected officials, to outline their regional development plans. In these plans, regions will map out their proposal to invest in their growth and prosperity, outlining a series of strategies focused on physical projects and sustainable, multi-year programs to advance quality of place, quality of life, and quality of opportunity.
The IEDC’s investment in a region’s plan is expected to have a 4:1 match from local public and private sources and can include strategies focused on physical projects, such as infrastructure, workforce housing developments, the revitalization of blighted or vacant properties, and cultural amenities, as well as sustainable, multi-year programs, such as talent attraction initiatives, public private partnerships to advance innovation in industry and small business support services.
Regions have until Aug. 31, 2021, to submit these plans, which will then be evaluated in the fall. Full guidelines for regional development plans as well as evaluation timelines are available online.
Launched by Gov. Holcomb and led by the IEDC, READI builds on the framework and successes of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and the 21st Century Talent Initiative, encouraging regional collaboration and data-driven, long-term planning that, when implemented, will attract and retain talent in Indiana. The IEDC will work closely with state and local partners to align goals and funding mechanisms to ensure that projects and programs proposed by regions are in line with and coordinated with broader state initiatives.