Pence, IEDC Put Stamp on Regional Cities Selections

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Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke was part of the winning southwest Indiana team. Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke was part of the winning southwest Indiana team.

Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors have approved the Indiana Regional Cities Strategic Review Committee recommendations. As a result, the southwest, north central and northeast regions will receive funding as part of the statewide Regional Cities Initiative. The program will give the selected regions access to millions of dollars of funding to improve quality of life and marketing efforts.

The committee elected to select three recipients rather than the expected two. The two-year program is being funded through a state tax amnesty program that concluded last month and raised more than originally targeted. The legislature is expected to craft a bill during the current session to fully fund all three efforts at $42 million each. RCI was initially drawn up with a total of $84 million in mind.

Seven regions submitted proposals, totaling more than 400 projects and $4 billion in funding.

The largest proposal comes from Southwest Indiana. The "Great Life, Great Community, Great Environment, Great People" would invest more than $926 million with a goal of increasing the region's population by more than 70,000 within 10 years. The proposal includes a science center at the nationally-renowned Signature School in downtown Evansville, extending the Warrick County Wellness Trail and boosting residential development. You can connect to the Southwest Indiana RCI application by clicking here.

Northeast Indiana's proposal comes in at more than $842 million. It includes a planned Food Innovation Center in Bluffton, development along the banks of the St. Mary's River in Fort Wayne and upgrades to the former Clyde Theater in the city. The region's application is available by clicking here.

North central Indiana's $732 million plan includes more redevelopment of the former Studebaker Plant in South Bend, improvements to Elkhart's Wellfield Gardens and projects with the University of Notre Dame. The Northern Indiana RCI application is available here.

The other proposals included central Indiana, which submitted a $597 million proposal. It includes funding for a 60-acre technology and innovation district, upgrades to trails and pathways and a 35-mile "Red Line" rapid bus transit route. 

The application from Northwest Indiana detailed $510 million in projects, including improvements to facilities at Indiana Dunes State Park and upgrades to the South Shore rail line. 

East Central Indiana's ADVANCE plan involved around $148 million in projects. They include revitalization efforts along the White River and downtown Muncie and connecting New Castle's arts district to artist Robert Indiana.

The West Central region proposed $34 million in projects. They include renovations to the New Moon Theatre in Vincennes and redeveloping an empty, Indiana State University-owned building along the Wabash River in Terre Haute as a "live-and-work entrepreneurial hub."

This story will be updated.

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