Regional Cities Initiative to Increase Innovation, Quality of Place in Northeast Indiana

March 10th, 2017


The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has approved Regional Cities Initiative funding to support three projects. These projects will increase innovation, enhance downtown living opportunities, attract talent in the life sciences industry and improve connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians.

“The purpose of the Regional Cities Initiative is to encourage communities to collaborate and plan regionally for their future and attract and retain talent,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. "These three projects offer something for everyone in northeast Indiana – urban housing, workforce and business development and health and wellness. I look forward to witnessing the positive impact these projects will have on their communities and the state as a whole.” 


The region will convert an existing five-building, 70,000-square-foot complex into a business incubator, which will house traditional co-working space for small businesses and growing firms, as well as a dedicated industrial training facility with welding and CNC machinery training equipment. Located on 4.5 acres half a mile south of Angola's public square at 907 S. Wayne St., the Enterprise Center will be nimble enough to address employers' needs while partnering with training providers.

Phase one of the three-phase project focuses on the creation of the training center, which includes building out two classrooms and office space, installing computer stations and refurbishing the parking and grounds. Within the training center, the facility will house two CNC lathes and two CNC mills along with four CNC simulators. The facility will also include ten welding stations, additional space for future equipment needs, as well as connections to the Steuben County Fiber Network (iMAN), a privately owned fiber network. Click here for a rendering of the Enterprise Center. 

Total Project Investment: $1.89 million
State funding: $323,000

“The Enterprise Center was in the original application for the regional development authority (RDA).  After some refocusing on our application, it was submitted and approved by the RDA. It has now been approved by the IEDC.  We are very excited to move forward and with these funds, we will be able to provide the training for incumbent and new employees for a better quality of life in Steuben County and Northeast Indiana.  This is just the beginning for The Enterprise Center, now just watch us grow!  Thank you IEDC,” said Craig Ralston, board president of the Steuben County Economic Development Corporation.

“As an economic development practitioner, I am continuously building our community assets to make Steuben County businesses and communities stronger and more attractive. The Enterprise Center, from a workforce development focus, does this and more! We are excited about the opportunities that will come with a facility like this,” said Isaac R Lee, MBA, executive director of the Steuben County Economic Development Corporation.
The city of Warsaw is home to a rich, traditional small town heritage and skilled private sector job growth that supports a growing global orthopedics industry. To meet the needs of its evolving community, the region will redevelop two blocks along North Buffalo Street, connecting downtown to Center Lake and Central Park, adding urban housing, streetscape enhancements and constructing a public plaza.

The redevelopment will include a total of 53 single-family residential units comprised of mews, townhouses and city homes, increasing options for current residents and supporting opportunities to attract talent for the orthopedic industry. The project will also reconstruct underground utilities, streets, sidewalks, alleys and street lights. Additionally, the city will construct a public plaza connecting the existing park to the mixed-use urban housing project to maximize developments along the lake, park and downtown Warsaw. Click here for a rendering of the project layout. 

Total Project Investment: $17.56 million
State funding: $3.5 million

"This project represents a true public-private partnership that will fill an unmet housing need for our professional workforce and generate new property tax revenue for our community.  We are most appreciative of the Regional Cities Initiative for its visionary support," said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer.
One of the northeast region's Vision Projects is to add 111 miles to the existing 170 miles of trails, connecting communities across the 11-county region. The South Adams Trails will cover 3.2 miles, joining an existing trail heading north from the town of Geneva to a planned trail heading south from Berne by rehabilitating two historic 1897 Pratt Truss iron rail bridges across the Wabash River. Future trail expansions include connecting with the planned Poka Bache Trail in Bluffton and trail connections to the Decatur and Portland communities. Click here for a photo of the north bridge and U.S. Highway 27. 
Total Project Investment: $3.1 million
State funding: $498,000

“We are grateful for the award. The Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation are to be commended for their work in this area. This Regional Cities grant now puts South Adams Trails in a position to fast-track a network of high quality trails in our section of northeast Indiana. It will not only provide our family-friendly communities with a much desired recreational opportunity, but also provide a quality of life economic development tool,” said Randy Lehman, president of the South Adams Trail organization.       

Regional Cities Initiative in Northeast Indiana:
This project was recommended for funding by the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) and is part of the region's Road to One Million plan, which outlines a short-term goal of 38 regional development projects in 11 counties totaling $400 million in quality of place investments, as well as a vision for more than 70 projects and $1.5 billion in public and private investment over the next 10 years. Through this long-term regional development planning, the 11-county region aims to attain one million residents by 2020. 

Northeast Indiana was one of three Indiana regions selected to receive state funding through the Regional Cities Initiative, which will allocate a total of $126 million toward 100 quality of place projects totaling more than $2 billion in combined state, local and private in order to retain and attract top talent to the Hoosier state. 

Media Contacts:  
Lindsay Devlin (IEDC) – 317.232.8873 or
Isaac Lee (The Enterprise Center) – 260.243.0657 or
Mayor Joe Thallemer (Warsaw) – 574.372.9595 or
Randy Lehman (South Adams Trail) – 260.849.0308 or

About Indiana Regional Cities Initiative
Spearheaded by Governor Mike Pence and carried forward by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative sets a framework for neighboring communities across the state to work together to develop regional visions that are supported by compelling strategic plans focused on quality of place. The initiative will help each region develop a positive and unique national brand to advance the goal of becoming a destination for talent. Passed in 2015 with bipartisan support by the Indiana General Assembly, the initiative is overseen by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. To learn more visit or follow on Twitter at @Indiana_EDC, #INRegionalCities.