State Reveals Regional Cities Plans

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Pence pushed hard during the legislative session for approval and funding of the initiative. Pence pushed hard during the legislative session for approval and funding of the initiative.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says plans outlined in the seven applications for the Regional Cities Initiative combine for a total of $3.8 billion in proposed investments. Governor Mike Pence says the $84 million program will help "establish our regions as global destinations" for business and talent attraction.

Regional development authorities have proposed over 400 quality of place and economic development-related projects that the state says will help the two selected regions establish national brands. Each winning region will be eligible to receive as much as $42 million in matching state funding over the course of two years. The proposals outline totals ranging from $34 million to more than $925 million.

The competing regions are:

Central Indiana, which is proposing a $597 million plan that includes a 35-mile "Red Line" rapid bus transit route, 60-acre technology and innovation district, and improving trails and pathways. You can connect to the Central Indiana RCI executive summary by clicking here and full application by clicking here.

The ADVANCE plan from the East Central region encompasses around $148 million and involves revitalization in downtown Muncie and along the White River and connecting New Castle's arts district connected to the legacy of artist Robert Indiana. You can connect to the East Central Indiana RCI application by clicking here.

The vision in Northern Indiana involves close to $732 million in investment. Potential projects include additional reuse of the former Studebaker Plant in South Bend, improvements to Wellfield Gardens in Elkhart and more collaboration with the University of Notre Dame. You can connect to the Northern Indiana RCI application by clicking here.

The 38 projects proposed for the Northeast region include development along the banks of the St. Mary's River in Fort Wayne, improvements to the former Clyde Theater in the city and funds for the planned Food Innovation Center in Bluffton. The estimated price tag comes in at more than $842 million. You can connect to the Northeast Indiana RCI executive summary by clicking here and the full application by clicking here.

Leaders in Northwest Indiana have outlined nearly $510 million in projects including big upgrades to the South Shore rail line and revitalizing facilities at the Indiana Dunes State Park. You can connect to the Northwest Indiana RCI application by clicking here.

Southwest Indiana's more than $926 million proposal focuses on its "Great Life, Great Community, Great Environment, Great People" plan to boost region population by over 70,000 within 10 years. Projects include a science center at the nationally-renowned Signature School in downtown Evansville, residential development and enhancing and extending the Warrick Country Wellness Trail. You can connect to the Southwest Indiana RCI application by clicking here.

The most modestly-priced proposal comes from the West Central region. It involves around $34 million that would pay for renovating the New Moon Theatre in Vincennes and redeveloping the empty, Indiana State University-owned ICON building along the Wabash River in Terre Haute as a live-and-work entrepreneurial hub. You can connect to the West Central Indiana RCI application by clicking here.

A formal recommendation is expected from the program's Strategic Review Committee in the fourth quarter of this year. Officials connected to the proposals have told Inside INdiana Business the process has fostered significant conversations about regional collaboration with major regional players.

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