As the NEI team works with the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) to develop the region’s READI 2.0, we reached out to our contact at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) with a few questions that we thought stakeholders might be interested in.
Nassif Kouton is the Program Manager, Regional Development & Redevelopment with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. In this role, Nassif serves as the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority’s primary point of contact as it pursues a READI 2 allocation for the region.
Prior to joining the IEDC team earlier this year, Nassif worked at the City of Indianapolis as a Mayor’s Neighborhood Advocate and then as a Project Manager for Community and Economic Development. He’s a huge Lakers fan and enjoys spending time with friends and family.
- Why READI 2.0?
After the rollout of READI 1.0, the IEDC saw massive demand across the state, translating into transformational projects that positioned Indiana as a top location work and live. There was an appetite from the regions to see additional funding to continue to support these efforts. Under the leadership of Governor Holcomb and the General Assembly, an additional investment of $500 million will be made to ensure momentum continues and Indiana remains a top state in the Midwest for business and workforce.
- Can you give a high-level overview of the state’s key performance indicators for READI 2.0?
The IEDC wants to be very intentional with growth and how to sustain that growth. There is a focus on increasing Indiana’s GDP, which will require an increase in wages and population. We understand that only happens by focusing on preparing Hoosiers with the necessary tools for increased innovation and highly skilled jobs. Housing and childcare are two factors that stand out in supporting that growth, and we want to focus on those quality of life and place efforts if we want these goals to be achieved.
- What’s the timeline for READI 2.0?
The READI 2.0 policy was released at the beginning of September. Regions have six months to prepare and submit their applications to the IEDC, which will be due on February 16, 2024. We will release a document for FAQs in October of this year. Allocations will be announced in April 2024, and the IEDC will begin coordinating with regions in May of that year to identify significant capital projects for investment.
- What are some eligible expenditures?
A critical difference between READI 1.0 and 2.0 is that only capital expenditures will be allowed. So, examples include anything that improves property or a physical asset. This can include things like new construction or rehabilitating existing facilities, equipment purchases, land acquisition, or infrastructure improvements such as water, utilities, broadband, and sidewalks.
- How will the regions and IEDC will work together during READI 2.0?
Like READI 1.0, IEDC and READI regions will be partners throughout the whole process. We have added capacity to ensure that regions have a go-to for any questions or concerns that may come up. The regions will maintain their day-to-day functions and responsibilities with project owners. Project identification runs through them, and the selection process will be a collaborative effort to ensure that the priorities of the IEDC and the regions are aligned.