The Indiana First Regional Development Plan group met with area stakeholders Friday to provide updates on the near 20 economic development projects that have now been officially approved to receive funding from the state’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), including about $5 million coming home to Knox County.

The group hosted a morning reception at Vincennes University’s Jasper Campus to announce that its $15 million READI award will leverage as much as $153 million in additional investments throughout the region, which includes Harrison, Knox, Perry, Pike, and Spencer counties, all members of the Southwest Indiana Development Council (SWIDC).

Representatives say the projects have met all the necessary requirements to receive READI grant funding.

The projects include nine housing developments across all five counties, resulting in more than 290 single-family homes, and 180 apartments, which represents $7.5 million for public infrastructure, and $101 million in local public and private investments.

Locally, officials have already announced that about $1.7 million of the more than $5 million coming to Knox County for READI projects will go toward a sewer extension, specifically extending gravity sewer from Elkhorn Road to Sievers Road in preparation for the first of what they hope is many housing developments on the city’s east side.

This first development — officials have not yet announced the name of the developer — could result in as many as 48 multi-family units, officials have said.

The Indiana First region, recognizing a critical need for additional housing in all counties throughout the region, is focusing much of its READI grant award on housing.

“The shortage of quality, affordable housing in our region is among the greatest challenges to economic growth,” said Jon Craig, chairman of the Indiana First Committee. “The Indiana First region is focusing our efforts to address these gaps.”

There are also six economic and workforce development projects being funded, which account for $5.6 million of READI funding and will leverage another $50 million in local investments.

These projects include workforce training for health careers, industrial park improvements, and a case study for previously mined lands, a press release issued by Indiana First states.
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