Two more quality of place projects moving forward in Northeast Indiana

May 31st, 2019

Indiana Economic Development Corporation

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has approved Regional Cities Initiative funding to support the development of a new outdoor plaza and amphitheater in Wells County, adding key community spaces that will help enhance the region's efforts to attract investment and talent to northeast Indiana. 

“Through regional collaboration and quality of place investments, Indiana communities across the state are working together to create vibrant places that attract and retain top talent," said Elaine Bedel, president of the IEDC. “With these projects, Wells County and all of northeast Indiana will gain major cultural and economic amenities that help spur investment and enhance the quality of place for current and future residents. We're excited that regional development plans are continuing to forge ahead through the Regional Cities Initiative, and look forward to working hand-in-hand with communities in other regions to promote the same goals under the program." 


The proposed Parlor City Plaza, which will be located at the north and west corners of the Wells County Courthouse in Bluffton, will support the growth and vibrancy of the downtown area. The multi-use, open-air plaza will feature a mural and several art pieces as well as a stage, outdoor movie screen, electric hookups for food trucks and green spaces. With construction expected to be complete in September 2019, this project will allow the community to host events, activities and other entertainment, helping increase economic activity and create a better quality of place in the region. 

“The Parlor City Plaza is going to be a great place to draw people to and enhance the redevelopment of downtown Bluffton," said Michael Lautzenheiser, president of Bluffton NOW!. "This project will go a long way toward making downtown Bluffton a jewel within northeast Indiana."


This project will result in significant improvements at Archbold Wilson Park, a 60-acre site on the southeast corner of Ossian, including a new amphitheater that will serve as an event and concert venue. Along with a new trail, five acres of green space, an ADA-compliant playground and 18-hole disc golf course, the 5,000-square-foot amphitheater will be built on the grounds of the park, creating a gathering space for community members and cultural amenity that will help attract talent and visitors to the region. Construction is set to begin in late September 2019 and completed by August 2020. 

"This project will be a great addition to Ossian," said Kody Kumfer, president of Ossian Revitalization. "We're so excited to have a central place where people both within and outside of our community can come together for events, concerts and other activities. Moreover, the new nature area and playground will provide a fun place for young students to learn and play. We are beyond thankful for the support we have received from the community, businesses and Wells County residents, and look forward to this project adding another amenity and quality of place asset in northeast Indiana." 

Total Investment: $2.1 million
State funding: $423,183

Both projects will serve as access points and quality of place assets along the regional Poka-Bache Connector, which spans four counties in northeast Indiana and is a part of the Indiana Visionary Trails System. The 81-mile trail connects Ouabache State Park in Bluffton and Pokagon State Park in Angola.

To date, $119.7 million has been awarded to support quality of place projects through the Regional Cities Initiative, leveraging $1.08 billion in additional co-investment from other public and private sources (a 9.1-1 investment leverage ratio).

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. 

About Indiana Regional Cities Initiative
Spearheaded by former Governor Mike Pence, 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 IEDC. To learn more visit or follow on Twitter at @Indiana_EDC, #INRegionalCities. 

Categories Quality of Life