Ready because of READI: The new Sullivan City Pool is the first completed project through the Wabash River Regional Development Authority’s distribution of $20 million in Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) grants. The pool is seen here after its dedication ceremony on Aug. 31, 2022. Staff photo by Joseph C. Garza
Ready because of READI: The new Sullivan City Pool is the first completed project through the Wabash River Regional Development Authority’s distribution of $20 million in Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) grants. The pool is seen here after its dedication ceremony on Aug. 31, 2022. Staff photo by Joseph C. Garza
The new Sullivan City Pool is the first completed project through the Wabash River Regional Development Authority’s distribution of $20 million in Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) grants.

The project received $1 million in READI funds, which is matched on a 2-to-1 basis with the city of Sullivan, as the city contributed $2 million of the project through various fundraisers.

The READI program is part of a $500 million state program that uses federal COVID-19 relief funds and is overseen by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which gives financial approval for each project.

The Wabash Valley RDA, which covers Vigo, Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Knox counties, was awarded $20 million in December 2021.

Requirements of the READI grant money is based on a matching ratio, with government projects requiring a 2-to-1 funding match of the local government dollars to READI dollars; non-profit agencies with a 3-to-1 match of nonprofit-generated funds to READI funds; and private projects requiring a 4-to-1 match of private money to READI money.

The program’s goal is that each project collectively works to advance the region’s quality of life and talent attraction and retention efforts.

“Our region is blessed to have various projects at different stages. Some projects were already near completion and needed that chunk of READI funding to reach completion,” said Greg Goode, president of the Wabash River RDA.

“Other projects are in their early stages and READI dollars are going to help jump start the process. Each project is unique, and the RDA has been in close communication with each project,” Goode said.

“Currently, the RDA is in the process of working through the contributions to the Mill, the Wilma and Liston Buell Community Center in Clay City, and anticipates working on two or three more initiatives moving into October,” he said. “In addition, the Vigo County Capital Improvement Board recently announced they will be moving forward with the feasibility study for the Sports Complex and Water Facility and recently Rea Park announced that they are getting closer to their fundraising goal,” Goode said.

The RDA anticipates multiple projects going through the IEDC approval process at the same time over the next two to three years, Goode said, “however, recognizing there are potential opportunities to advocate for more READI dollars in the future, the RDA expects working with all stakeholders closely to finalize READI Round 1 projects as soon as possible,” he said.

“Our goal is to complete as many projects as possible by fourth quarter 2022, but we anticipate many of the larger initiatives will begin coming to fruition at the beginning of 2023,” Goode said.

“Some of the multi-faceted and collaborative projects such as the Early Childhood Education Center, the Equine Event Center, Rose Ventures, and the Downtown Hotel project will likely begin in 2023-24 but not be finalized until 2024 and beyond,” he said. “However, we have a great amount of confidence that every project in READI Round 1 will come to fruition by 2026.”

Goode said the “IEDC continues to be a valued partner and although they are having to develop changes along the way to meet ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) standards, we have found that they are working through the process in a timely manner. For example, once we have all the information and approval for submission, it’s intended to take two to four weeks to process the payment,” he said.

“The process included a multi-phased approach of processing the data and utilizing an online portal system so that there is a shared tracking system for all information. The RDA must remain somewhat fluid in submitting the projects through the (IEDC) portal as the projects are ready because they are all on their own timeline. Recognizing that, it’s hard to say today exactly where these projects will fall over the next three to four years.”

All projects have until the end of 2024 to have money committed, with all READI funds to be spent by the end of 2026.

Wabash Valley RDA projects

The projects for the Wabash Valley RDA are:

• Billie Creek Village — $250,000, requiring a 3-to-1 match, to rehabilitate a historic town in Parke County. The goal is for Billie Creek Village to return to a tourist destination combining its historical buildings and covered bridges with shopping, food and family fun.

• City of Sullivan Central Plaza — $1.5 million, requiring a 2-to-1 match. The grant is for the city’s Central Plaza Pavilion to provide outdoor entertainment and outdoor community events. An aquatic feature will be an integral aspect of Central Plaza.

• City of Sullivan Housing Project — $800,000, requiring a 2-to-1 match. The city, in this project, seeks to develop 40 new homes - town homes, duplexes, and single-family homes - in the $180,000 to $250,000 price range to attract population growth.

• City of Terre Haute Rea Park — $50,000, requiring a 2-to-1 match. It is part of an effort to restore the park’s historic clubhouse into an all-inclusive activity/social center, including tennis courts, pickleball facilities, a golf academy, a running/walking trail around the park, and a park space for picnickers with playground equipment and a health and wellness facility.

• Clinton Water Feature — $250,000, requiring a 2-to-1 match. The city of Clinton, to improve quality of life, seeks to create an interactive water feature located in Riverside Park.

• Courtyard + Residence Inn and Parking Garage — $4.3 million, requiring a 4-to-1 match. The two hotels and parking garage are slated to assist the viability of the new downtown Terre Haute Convention Center, enabling the center to have 400 “walkable” hotel rooms. The project is aimed at increasing tourism in West Central Indiana.

• Design and Innovation Studio (Vincennes University) — $100,000, requiring a 2-to-1 match. The IN-MaC Design and Innovation Studio (DIS) will develop and provide industry-education activities and curriculum for users to cultivate the next generation of high-tech thinkers and doers.

• Diversity and Career Center/School of Health Sciences — $1 million, requiring a 2-to-1 match. Funds aimed at the workforce will allow Ivy Tech Community College’s new Diversity & Career Center to provide initiatives that support future healthcare professionals for employers in the Wabash Valley.

• Early Learning Center at Indiana State University — $1 million, requiring a 2-to-1 match. In partnership with the Vigo County School Corporation, the renovation of the Chestnut Building will allow ISU to increase capacity for early childhood education, creating a co-design model that positions West Central Indiana as leaders in early childhood education.

• Homes for the Future Pilot Program — $1.8 million, requiring a 4-to-1 match. Essentially a pilot program for homebuilders enticing them to build homes in West Central Indiana. After an request for proposals grant cycle, chosen homebuilders could request up to 10% of the building cost. This program emphasizes a focus on homebuilders building homes at market rate, allowing homebuyers to seek successful funding at appraised value.

• Rose-Hulman Ventures Movement — $1.5 million, requiring a 3-to-1 match. The funds target a relocation of Rose-Hulman Ventures to Rose-Hulman’s main campus and prepare for the future development of the Research and Development Farm. Ventures is currently located 6 miles from the main campus on a 100-acre campus on the southeast side of Terre Haute. Through this project, Rose-Hulman will construct a new campus for Ventures at the corner of Indiana 46 and Indiana 42 and will design a space that can be utilized to its full capacity.

• Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Equine Event Center — $1.5 million, requiring a 3-to-1 match. This phased project will allow equine enthusiasts from across the Midwest and beyond to participate in events in West Central Indiana. Celebrating SMWC’s role in the equine industry both academically and programmatically offers them a unique perspective and opportunity to engage tourists interested in this industry.

• Sports Complex and East Side Aquatic Center — $50,000, requiring a 2-to-1 match. A feasibility study to determine the impact that a sports complex and aquatic center will have on the region, developing a scope of the project and furthering previously identified action items in regards to the development of a Terre Haute Multi-Sports Complex and Waterpark.

• Sullivan Hotel Project — $1,000,000, requiring at 4-to-1 match. The hotel project is targeted for the city’s downtown, adjacent to the new Sullivan Civic Center.

• Swope Art Museum — $150,000, requiring a 3-to-1 match. The renovated space will serve as a flexible space for art classes for all ages for gatherings, fundraisers, and workshops and funds will create ADA-accessibility to the the museum.

• Terre Haute Children's Museum Outdoor Space — $50,000, requiring a 3-to-1 match. The funds will cover a feasibility study to determine the scope of a play area for kids complete with climbing walls and other playground equipment as well as permanent seating where families can sit and enjoy the outdoors. On a grander scale, this outdoor space could potentially result in guests visiting other downtown businesses, like restaurants and shopping.

• The Mill —$200,000, requiring a 4-to-1 match. The plan is for a state-of-the-art performance structure that would allow for the largest national touring acts to perform. A design iconic in nature while still matching the aesthetic of the venue property and its historic past. This structure and design would allow for in-house sound and production that could lead to lower ticket costs for guests, bringing in a bigger crowd. Ultimately, however, these funds will be used to create ADA accessibility for the new complex.

• The William Henry Harrison Presidential Mansion — $2 million, requiring a 3-to-1 match. The $10 million William Henry Harrison Presidential Mansion and Visitors Center project is a significant investment in the preservation of Indiana’s history. The new 15,000 square foot Harrison Presidential Visitors Center will welcome visitors to explore the history of the local surroundings and gain an understanding of the historical importance of the State of Indiana.

• Turn to the River — $150,000, requiring a 3-to-1 match. Turn to the River is a multi-year project of Art Spaces, Inc. to reconnect Terre Haute’s downtown with the Wabash River through public art and design. Turn to the River offers a strong model of collaboration and placemaking that engages the community, links to economic development and other river-related improvement projects, inspires new ideas, and offers a comprehensive vision for an important and historical downtown area.

• Wilma and Liston Buell Community Center — $220,000, requiring a 3-to-1 match. Recreation, Education, Information and Nutrition. These four ideologies are what REIN Coalition aims to provide West Central Indiana. Since 2009, REIN has strived to create a new and unique community center to create a space capable for a variety of services including meeting space, housing a large food pantry, events like graduation parties, birthday parties, wedding receptions, and much more.

• West Central Indiana Business Hub — $500,000, requiring a 3-to-1 match. In 2020, the West Central Indiana Business Hub was created as a comprehensive business resource for all business-related development in the West Central Indiana region. The idea is to create a one-stop-shop for business.

• West Terre Haute Clinic and Pharmacy — $100,000, requiring a 3-to-1 match. This new clinic in West Terre Haute opened in May and was dedicated in June. The Valley Professionals Community Health Center will improve access to comprehensive quality health care and enhance the overall well-being of the communities served. Most importantly, it’s meant to advance, in a positive way, the health metrics of West Central Indiana, offering a new destination for those seeking health care.

• Administration — $530,000 of READI grant fund used for administration by Wabash River RDA. As the projects within this READI application move forward, the Wabash River RDA is partnering with various organizations to manage the grant administration responsibilities, serve as fiscal agent, and provide legal services. These entities report directly to the Wabash River RDA and will enable the RDA to be competitive for future grant opportunities representing West Central Indiana.
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