On Friday, February 16, the Northern Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) submitted its application for READI 2.0 funds to the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) on behalf of the South Bend – Elkhart region, consisting of Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph counties. The IEDC is expected to announce regional recipients in April. 

“Having seen the impact of the initial READI 1.0 funding, we’re aggressively pursuing the maximum $75 million allotment in READI 2.0,” said John DeSalle, Chair of the RDA. “The plan is projected to generate over $2 billion in direct economic activity over the next six years for the region. We hope the IEDC sees how we are embodying their statewide concept that the South Bend – Elkhart region is ‘for the bold’ – sharing  our vision and strategically stacking investments to achieve the greatest return.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb included the additional $500 million in Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative – or READI 2.0 – funds as part of his 2023 Next Level Agenda. It was approved by the Indiana General Assembly during the 2023 legislative session. The South Bend – Elkhart region was the recipient of $50 million in READI 1.0 funds in 2021 – the maximum amount allowed at the time. In a change for READI 2.0, an individual region can qualify for a $75 million award, and only capital projects can win funds. READI 1.0 included programs. 

In November, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership conducted a series of six workshops – two in each county – to gather stakeholder input on community needs and to develop 1-, 5- and 10-year visions for the region. Roughly 200 people participated in the workshops.

“We’ve built an extremely strong application, with the focus on talent attraction and retention, housing, infrastructure, entrepreneurship and innovation, work based-learning, and post-secondary education,” said Bethany Hartley, President and CEO of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. “With input from the regional workshops, the READI steering committee, and community and state partners, and backed by data and research, the South Bend – Elkhart region’s READI 2.0 plan is anticipated to transform our region, meeting and exceeding the state’s READI 2.0 goals and KPIs.”

Launched by Gov. Holcomb and led by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), READI encourages regional collaboration and data-driven, long-term planning that will attract and retain talent in Indiana. In 2022, the RDA awarded $40 million in to 17 of Quality of Place projects and $6.4 million in funding to 11 programs, resulting in an estimated $448 million in additional private and public investment. Regional READI 1.0 awarded projects included Elkhart County’s Tolson Center and Wellfield Visitor’s Center, Marshall County’s Career Innovation Center and Culver Dunes Housing Project, and St. Joseph County’s Madison Lifestyle District and the Mishawaka Fieldhouse. The full list can be found here

For more information and updates on the South Bend – Elkhart region’s READI application, click here. To learn more about the READI grant program, visit IndianaREADI.com.