Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority discusses on Sept. 21 its 'Growing With Vision' Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) application to the state. Staff photo by Lisa Esquivel Long
Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority discusses on Sept. 21 its 'Growing With Vision' Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) application to the state. Staff photo by Lisa Esquivel Long
TIP Strategies has its work cut out for it.

The Austin, Texas, consultant, has two Sept. 30 deadlines affecting Northeast Indiana projects.

The consultancy group is doing triple-duty for the region. It’s working on Greater Fort Wayne Inc.’s Economic Development Action Plan, Northeast Indiana Strategic Development Commission’s strategic plan and Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority’s Regional Economic Acceleration & Development Initiative (READI) application. The latter could bring up to $50 million to the region for projects.

The Indiana General Assembly set three goals for the strategic development commission to meet for the region:

• Increasing the per capita personal income relative to the national average.
• Increasing the population in the development area.
• Increasing postsecondary education and credential attainment.

The commission met Sept. 21 to finalize plans for its Sept. 30 deadline for a letter to the General Assembly’s Committee on Legislative Council that outlines its plans to meet the goals set for it in the last legislative session.

Because the strategic commission isn’t a legal entity, it can’t sign contracts so the Regional Chamber is serving as its fiscal agent. The chamber will collect the $100,000 TIP Strategies fee, and pay it with $20,000 down and $10,000 a month, with the bulk of the remainder coming when TIP hands over its report to the strategic commission.

The benefit of having the same consultant for three major Northeast Indiana economic development projects is that TIP Strategies has already completed a lot of work that the various entities can share, including research into the region.

Also Sept. 21, the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority met to finalize its READI application titled “Growing With Vision.” Gov. Eric Holcomb in August announced a 30-day extension for applications to Sept. 30.

Northeast Indiana’s plan won’t be made public until it is sent to the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to award up to $50 million per region for the $500 million initiative.

Holcomb said he believes READI will attract at least $2 billion of local public, private and philanthropic match funding that will propel investment in Indiana’s quality of place, quality of life, and quality of opportunity.

All 11 Local Economic Development Organizations in the Northeast Indiana region acted “as the front door for projects,” Michael Galbraith, the authority’s administrator, said. The authority received 141 projects, and after eliminating duplicates and combining projects such as the various trail plans for pieces of the Poka-bache Connector that goes from Steuben County’s Pokagon State Park to Wells County’s Ouabache State Park, the group had 130 projects.

The projects focus on growing the workforce, downtown vibrancy and entrepreneurship and innovation. Of the 130 projects, it chose 30 “vision projects” that “best tell a coherent story on how the projects may address those concerns,” Galbraith said.

Just because the projects are part of the application it doesn’t mean each will get funded, Galbraith pointed out. Also, other projects may come up that will be funded because they meet the goals.
©Copyright 2022 KPC Media Group, Inc.