Northeast Indiana Leaders Present Growing with Vision Plan
Final Step in READI Process as Northeast Indiana Vies for $50 Million
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Northeast Indiana’s regional economic development plan showcases over 130 projects from across Northeast Indiana totaling more than $2 billion of investment. Regional leaders recently presented the regional development plan to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) as the final step in the state’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) application process.
The plan, titled “Growing with Vision,” showcases Northeast Indiana's strong economic transformation in the last decade thanks in part to opportunities such as the Regional Cities Initiative (RCI). Through the region’s RCI application, titled, “Road to One Million,” the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) transformed $42 million into $1.07 billion of investment in the region from projects included in the plan or funded by the RDA.
Building off this economic growth, the Growing with Vision plan examines the significant opportunities ahead of the region, including projects and programs that would be catalyzed and accelerated if the region receives READI funding.
“Designed to springboard from Northeast Indiana’s successful implementation of the Regional Cities Initiative, the Growing with Vision plan leverages decades of intentional regional collaboration and planning as well as a history of success with region-wide efforts,” said James Khan, RDA board member. “The plan is the result of countless hours of collaborative work by hundreds of individuals and is built around the goal to transform our Northeast Indiana region into a globally-recognized magnet for the best businesses and talent.”
In the live-streamed presentation on Friday, Dec. 3 at the Dallara Indycar Factory in Speedway, Ind., the Northeast Indiana RDA requested $50 million from the state to fund transformational projects focused on three major strategies for regional development: workforce growth, downtown vibrancy and entrepreneurship and innovation.
“By addressing our crucial challenges of growing the workforce, building vibrant downtowns and fostering entrepreneurship and innovation we will increase Northeast Indiana’s pace of growth. Ultimately, Northeast Indiana’s ability to position itself as a top global competitor with strong economic and workforce growth is directly tied to its ability to influence the three areas identified in the Growing with Vision plan,” said Edmond O’Neal, president and CEO of Northeast Indiana Works. “As a region, we have made great strides in aligning workforce development, higher education and industry to strengthen our labor force. READI funding will enable us to accelerate this work.”
Northeast Indiana leaders who presented the plan to the IEDC included:
- ObiCai Restaurant Management President and Founder and Northeast Indiana RDA Board Member James Khan
- Northeast Indiana Works President and CEO Edmond O’Neal III
- Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership President and CEO Stéphane Frijia
- CEO of AWS Foundation Patti Hays
- Huntington Mayor Richard Strick
- Ruoff Mortgage President and CEO Mark Music
“An investment in the Growing with Vision plan benefits regional companies like Ruoff Mortgage and the entire state. As the owner and CEO of Ruoff, I have a unique perspective with 32 retail branch lending centers serving our largest metropolitan areas like Fort Wayne and also communities across the state including Bedford, Anderson, Greencastle and Plymouth. Our branch network blankets the state and provides jobs for Hoosiers statewide. The success we are able to achieve through innovation and marketing that takes place at the corporate level in Fort Wayne delivers economic impact in all of Indiana communities we serve,” said Mark Music, president and CEO of Ruoff Mortgage.
Launched by the state in the summer of 2021, READI is a bold, transformational initiative that will dedicate $500 million in state appropriations to promote strategic investments that will make Indiana a magnet for talent and economic growth. Additionally, READI guidelines instruct a minimum 4:1 regional match which includes a required 1:1 match from local public funding and a recommended 3:1 match from private and philanthropic sources.
The IEDC expects to make final funding decisions by the end of the year. If Northeast Indiana’s plan is approved, the READI funding will advance the implementation of Growing with Vision projects and programs and catalyze economic growth and talent development in the region.
Visit the website at www.neindiana.com/growingwithvision to see a video, photos, presentation materials and more.
About the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority
The Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA), currently the largest RDA in the state, consists of Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. The RDA is overseen by a five-member board, each appointed by consent of the executives of the member counties and municipalities, and receives staffing support from the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. For more information, visit www.neindiana.com/rda.
Director of Digital Marketing and Public Relations
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership