Tribune-Star - The six county region in the Wabash River Development Authority has been awarded $20 million as part of the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), which is a $500 million grant program run by the state and funded by federal COVID-19 funds.
The Wabash River region submitted more than $73 million in funding requests. The state previously announced each region would get up to $50 million.
"I am excited we got $20 million but a little bit disappointed that we did not get the full $50 million," said Vigo County Commissioner Chris Switzer.
"I know all the county leaders and city leaders and private investors put forth a lot of effort to get this done. We will work with $20 million and try to invest it as well as possible and continue to grow Vigo County and our region," he said.
"Now will be the tough part to pick which projects we can match with," Switzer added.
The Wabash River Regional Development Authority covers Vigo, Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Knox counties. The Wabash River RDA’s requests include those on behalf of higher education institutions, public schools, libraries, museums, non-profits and public/private projects.
Among the projects originally submitted to the state through the Wabash River Development Authority are a $59 million dual-branded Courtyard and Residence Inn in downtown Terre Haute. Others include a $40 million Sports Center and East Side Aquatic feature, and a $28.5 million Fabrication, Innovation, Technology, and Engineering Center through the Vigo County School Corp.
All projects require local matching funds.
The awards were announced Wednesday by Gov. Eric Holcomb and the the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
Indiana received $512 million from the American Rescue Plan of 2021, earmarking $500 million to the READI grant program.
Jason Dudich, vice president for finance and administration at the University of Indianapolis, and a citizen volunteer for the READI Review Committee, said 60 percent of the funding went to seven applicants in six regions that represent 71 percent of the state's population.
The READI review committee, an external seven-member citizen committee, reviewed and scored the plans based on the established guidelines and against other relevant data, including historical population trends.
The awards include:
The total requests were three times the allocated $500 million, as submissions from the 17 regions amounted to more than $1.5 billion and detailed nearly 800 projects and programs with a potential investment of $15.2 billion.
“The seventeen regions submitted innovative, creative and visionary projects that will result in a positive economic impact on Indiana’s future,” said Gov. Eric Holcomb.
The governor called the READI grants a "rising tide that lifts all boats....These project are adding up all over Indiana at the same time. We are turning our blue prints into beauty."
The regional redevelopment plans included housing, trails, broadband, childcare and wellness initiatives, workforce development programs, and telling Indiana’s story to the world. The plans enumerated a nearly 10:1 capitalization leverage ratio from private and public sources as compared to state investment.
Holcomb earlier this month said he will request a second round of funding for READI grants in 2023, when lawmakers craft the state’s next two-year budget.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.
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