Wabash River Regional Development Authority Held Quarterly Meeting


The Wabash River Regional Development Authority (RDA) held its regular quarterly meeting on Thursday January 11th. Items discussed at the public meeting included inducting a new member to the board, updates on READI 1.0 projects, READI 2.0 updates including rubric review and approval, and regional planning.

RDA President Jon Ford initiated the meeting by calling for a vote on the addition of a new board member, Bill Rennels. Bill Rennels, representing Vermillion County, was unanimously voted onto the board. Having lived and worked in Vermillion County for 37 years, he brings a wealth of knowledge, and experience to help advance opportunities for all residents. With the addition of Bill, the RDA board now has all five of its service counties represented. Members of the Wabash River RDA include Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo Counties.

Team members of RJL Solutions, Administrative Consultant to the RDA, provided the board with READI 1.0 project updates. All $20M of READI 1.0 dollars have been allocated to awarded projects. To date, nearly $4M has been disbursed to project stakeholders. READI 1.0 project stakeholders have until December 2026 to complete their projects and claim their awards. RJL Solutions predicts there will be sufficient claims in quarter one of 2024.

The board also discussed details of READI 2.0, which allows Indiana regional partnerships to once again submit applications to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). The IEDC’s application for funds does not include specific projects, rather seeks a regional strategy. To guide the RDA on this regional strategy, project applications are due to the organization by February 1st. The RDA will then submit their application to the state by February 16th. In late Spring 2024, after the IEDC announces READI 2.0 awards, they (IEDC) will work alongside each region to choose specific projects. More information on READI 2.0 can be found here: https://www.wabashriverrda.com/readi-2-0-application

During the meeting, the RDA board also discussed and approved the rubric they will use during the scoring process for READI 2.0, which will give them a portfolio of priority projects. The rubric follows the application guidelines and applies a weight to each component. Most notably, the matching component will amount to 1/3 of each project's total score. This is due to the requirement by the IEDC that each region must meet a 4:1 match across their portfolio of projects.

“It is extremely important that we give so much weight and merit to the matching component of this highly competitive grant,” states Jon Ford, President of Wabash River Regional Development Authority. “Our application must stand out amongst other competitive regions to maximize the amount of potential funding to our Wabash River Region.”

Beth Tevlin, President and CEO of The Wabash Valley Community Foundation (WVCF), also presented to the RDA Board during this meeting. Recently, the WVCF received planning funds from the Lilly Endowment Inc. through the Gift VIII initiative. The regional planning dollars received will be used to develop a regional plan for West Central Indiana. The previous plan, Resilient, was developed by Thrive West Central and was instrumental in identifying priority areas for READI 1.0. The WVCF will work alongside the RDA in the development of the regional plan.

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