More Regional Cities money available for projects

April 10th, 2017

Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

Projects hoping to receive Regional Cities Initiative funding now have a better chance following an announcement Thursday by the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority.

In a news release, the Northeast Indiana RDA said the $34.5 million project at the Landing, which would transform seven buildings and two parking lots along West Columbia Street into a mixed-use development, had secured additional financial backing in the way of tax credits from the state of Indiana.

Those involved with the Landing originally had requested more than $6.9 million in funding from the RDA, which is charged with distributing the $42 million Regional Cities Initiative grant that northeast Indiana was awarded in 2015 to support quality of life projects.

RDA board members previously had approved the funding request for the Landing. But according to Thursday’s announcement, that project now is expected to receive additional backing through the state of Indiana’s Industrial Recovery Tax Credit.

As a result, the RDA board lowered its Regional Cities funding recommendation for the Landing to $4.81 million, thereby freeing up more than $2 million that could go toward other projects under consideration.

Seven project are still seeking a portion of the remaining Regional Cities funding.

They are:

  • A $1 million project to go toward the expansion of the Kendallville Outdoor Recreation Complex that would add four youth-sized ball fields and other amenities to the complex, seeking $400,000;
  • A $1.3 million project to develop the Strawberry Valley Cultural Trail in Ligonier, seeking $254,000;
  • A $1.02 million Noble Trails Inc. project to complete the 12-mile-long Fishing Line Trail between Rome City and Kendallville, seeking $175,000;
  • A $26.4 million project to develop a riverfront park in Fort Wayne, seeking $5.3 million in Regional Cities funding;
  • A $5 million project to expand the Eagles Theatre in Wabash, seeking $1 million;
  • A $4.8 million project to develop the Wabash River Trail in Wabash County, seeking more than $960,000; and
  • A $4.3 million project to build an aquatics facility in Whitley County, seeking more than $861,000.

Michael Galbraith, director of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s Road to One Million effort, said securing the tax credits for the Landing was significant to the other projects that have requested Regional Cities funding.

“Without these funds, the RDA’s only option would have been to consider big reductions in possible awards to the seven pending projects,” Galbraith said in Thursday’s announcement.

“In Northeast Indiana, collaboration is critical. Because of that strength, the RDA can continue the Road to One Million plan to attract talent to Northeast Indiana’s 11 counties.”

RDA board chair Bob Marshall praised Cincinnati-based Model Group, the developer behind the Landing, for its willingness to find additional financial backing.

“To attract and retain talent to increase our regional population and make Northeast Indiana a magnet for growth, the RDA needs to continue to fund regional projects,” Marshall, executive vice president at Campbell & Fetter Bank in Kendallville, said in Thursday’s announcement.

“Thanks to the collaboration and creativity of Michael Galbraith, the Model Group, and all of our regional partners, we can continue to serve our communities and invest in quality of place assets.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. conditionally has approved awarding Regional Cities funding to the Landing, subject to it receiving state tax credits.

The RDA board will meet Tuesday afternoon at the Honeywell Center in Wabash.