Niki Kelly and Sherry Slater, The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Northeast Indiana  – represented by 11 counties and anchored by Fort Wayne – won a $42 million jackpot Tuesday to transform the region into an area with a national draw.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s trustees selected three regions in the state – northeast, north central and southwest – to receive Regional Cities grants.

“We’re writing a new future for our region and our state,” said John Sampson, president of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, which was instrumental in directing the effort. 

Officials didn’t simply hope for state funding but worked hard to secure it, he added. 

“We planned to be here today,” Sampson said.

The Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority was formed to distribute state grants to various applicants, including Fort Wayne’s downtown riverfront development and a network of area trails. The extensive proposal focused on improving quality of place to attract younger generations to the region.