In July the State of Indiana posted a release touting community involvement in the Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) grant.

The program was originally launched in May, giving local communities the chance to partner together in regional groups to get a share of $500 million ($50 million maximum per group) to create projects and programs to attract and retain top talent.

In July the Indiana Economic Development Corp (IEDC) said that there had been 18 regional groups formed to be part of the program accounting for 91 of Indiana’s 92 counties.

At the time of that release the only county that had not yet formed or joined a group was Fayette County.

In the recent weeks though; that has changed. According to Economic Development Group (EDG) Executive Director Dan Parker Fayette County has joined a group and will be able to participate in the Indiana READI program after all.

Parker said that there where a few issues that arouse in the start which is ultimately what lead to the delay in the county getting involved in the program, but said that the county has now formed a group to seek the aid.

“IEDC and the East Central Indiana Regional Partnership have graciously allowed Fayette County to be a participant in the $500 million READI grant program,” said Parker. “The city and county and Fayette County Foundation and Fayette County Economic Development Group are working together to make sure that Fayette County has a seat at the table.”

Parker said that it is a monumental task for any county to locate and meet the requirements set forth to qualify for the funding. Saying it’s “Not for the faint of heart.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) and the IEDC have said READI is expected to attract at least $2 billion local public, private and philanthropic match funding. Across the state.

Parker said the group is still accumulating project ideas for the money that the county could be granted.

It is difficult to set the plans in stone for several reasons. First, the plans are still in process and early development.

The second reason it is difficult to nail down the specifics of the projects, they have not been accepted by the state yet, so Parker did not want to commit to a project that the state ultimately does not approve.

The third reason is that funding is not yet set for each group. The money from the state will not necessarily be divided evenly among the now 19 groups that have been formed for the program.

Depending upon the price tag of the projects the state could shift more funding towards certain groups. If the monies were divided evenly each county would receive over $26 million.

Parker said that there are a few projects in mind, and that the group do have a focus in mind while preparing them.

“It would help the entire county and they are focused toward talent attraction, talent retention, talent creation and helping Connersville raise the quality of life and be a place people want to come to live,” Parker said.
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