Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership reports big economic gains In 2018
By Zach Bernard | WBOI
2018 was a good year for Allen County, celebrating 33 business expansions or relocations with investments totalling around $337 million. The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership now says Allen wasn’t the only county in the region to have a big year economically.
The partnership is reporting 111 project “wins” -- when a business expansion or attraction commits to Northeast Indiana -- totalling $660 million in capital investment and $176 million in new wages.
John Sampson is the president and CEO of the partnership. He called the annual numbers from the region’s 11 counties “promising.”
“If you start sitting down and thinking about the impact of those new wages, new jobs, that capital investment, what that means to communities for tax base for those communities, you start realizing it’s a significant investment in this region,” Sampson said.
Short term, Sampson reminds residents that numbers can be volatile from year to year, but the partnership will be watching trends and try to adapt accordingly. The partnership will spend much of 2019 focused on economic opportunities in the food and agriculture industry.
“We’ve actually looked at food processing before, but never food and agriculture together as a holistic view, and there’s tremendous productivity in this region related to food and agriculture, in addition to processing,” he said.
Sampson also reiterated support for the Electric Works project, calling it a “transformative initiative” that would be more than simply an “asset” to Northeast Indiana at large.
“I don’t think we as a community appreciate the significance of Electric Works yet,” he said. “There’s certainly risk involved, but the investment in terms of time, energy and doing everything we can as a community to help that project be successful is important to this region, in addition to Fort Wayne.”
Another priority for 2019 focuses on improving collaborations with the central and southern parts of Indiana.