West Central Indiana Announces Intent to Apply for Statewide READI Grant, Initiative Dedicates $500 Million
For Immediate Release – May 25, 2021
Earlier this month, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) released the details of a new statewide funding initiative, Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI.) This initiative was created by the state as a bold, transformational initiative that will dedicate $500 million in state appropriations to promote strategic investments that will make Indiana a magnet for talent and economic growth.
West Central Indiana intends to submit a letter of intent in the coming weeks to apply for this transformative regional opportunity.
The partners leading the West Central region application include West Central 2025, Thrive West Central and the Wabash River Regional Development Authority. Collaboratively, these entities will lead the way in convening a broad, diverse group of stakeholders, including major employers and other anchor institutions, education partners, economic development professionals, philanthropy partners, and its elected officials, to create a regional development plan that outlines the current state of the region, its vision for the future and a game plan to invest in its growth and prosperity.
Specifically, projects included in the application will be focused on the following areas:
- Community Needs (particularly food disparity, mental health)
- Workforce and Innovation
Expected partners include education, manufacturing, technology, innovation and programming.
Per the READI guidelines, West Central Indiana intends to submit its letter of intent to apply on or around June 1 via an online application. The full application is due by August 31 and funding recommendations are to be announced in November or December.
In a May 3 press release, Governor Holcomb stated, “Indiana is uniquely positioned to make transformational investments in our communities that will catalyze economic and population growth for years to come,” said Gov. Holcomb. “READI will lead the nation in encouraging regional collaboration, and it will equip Indiana regions with the tools and resources needed to implement strategic investments in quality of place and innovation, creating a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our state for residents and for future generations of Hoosiers.”
During a late April visit, Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch specifically expressed her expectation that the West Central region would benefit from the regional economic program. “I think for one thing, [the Wabash Valley] has demonstrated so much collaboration and partnership that you all are going to be definitely a winner, I do believe that,” Crouch said according to a report in the Tribune-Star.
Regions are eligible to receive up to $50 million in funding. Communities will be required to provide a 4:1 match of local public and private funding for most projects.
Data collection for the plan is underway and is being facilitated by Thrive West Central via Resilient, an economic recovery and resiliency plan. This 18-month planning process was launched last year, is being facilitated by RJL Solutions, and involves understanding the needs of the West Central region and the businesses and citizens it serves. Public forums are currently being conducted in Clay, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vigo and Vermillion counties to gather information for the plan. A complete list of forums is available at thrivewestcentral.com/economic/survey and an online survey for input is available at thrivewestcentral.formstack.com/forms/resilientwestcentral.
“Thrive has been diligently working to collect data through surveys, engaging with community members and creating a dynamic plan for our region,” said Ryan Keller, executive director at Thrive. “This cohesive, collaborative effort will better assist the communities we serve and move our region forward.”
Individuals or organizations interested in contributing ideas to general regional economic development plans or the READI grant specifically are encouraged to engage directly with Thrive West Central via the Resilient planning process.
The Southern Indiana Development Corporation is also supplying additional regional information, including data from Knox county.
For more information about READI, visit www.iedc.in.gov/program/indiana-readi/home.
Please direct media inquiries to Katie Shane at the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce by calling (812) 232-2391.
About West Central 2025
West Central 2025 is an initiative of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce Foundation which coordinates discussions about regionalism throughout a six-county region, including: Clay, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vigo and Vermillion counties. WC2025 has created an action-oriented network of individuals and groups who are familiar with each other’s regional assets and advance opportunities together.
About Thrive West Central
Thrive West Central is responsible for developing, managing and implementing many federal, state and local programs throughout West Central Indiana in economic development, community development, transportation planning, and as the area agency on aging and disabled services. Thrive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
About Wabash River Regional Development Authority
The Wabash River Regional Development Authority was established in 2015 in response to Indiana’s Regional Cities initiative. It continues to work closely with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) in creating strategic partnerships within the region that focus on enhancing the quality of place in communities and attracting people and businesses to relocate to Indiana. Current members of the Wabash River RDA include: Clay, Knox, Parke, Vermillion and Vigo counties.