The Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority board has voted in support of multiple college campus projects connected to the state’s Regional Cities Initiative. They include $2.8 million for renovations to two buildings at the University of Saint Francis downtown Fort Wayne campus and $2.8 million for the planned Thunder Ice Arena in Angola at Trine University.
The USF work involves converting the former Chamber of Commerce offices into the new home of the Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership and renovations to four floors of the former Scottish Rite building, now the West Annex of the USF Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center, to create the main location of the School of Creative Arts Music Technology program.
Trine’s project involves a portion of a $16 million investment into the athletics program that will bring men’s and women’s hockey to Angola, create a new, 3,000-seat home for the basketball teams and add a new fitness center.
The RDA is the administrator of northeast Indiana’s "Road to One Million" Regional Cities Initiative efforts. Auburn-based Metal Technologies Inc. Senior Vice President Jeff Turner is board chairman of the RDA and calls the projects "very strong." He adds "these are exactly the kind of innovative projects for which the Regional Cities Initiative is designed. We are creating a place people want to live and work. These projects serve as the catalyst we need to spur development in our regional downtowns,"
Three regions — northeast, north central and southwest — were selected last year to receive up to $42 million in state-matching support for projects designed to improve quality-of-place in clusters throughout the state. Plans in the northeast region include some $1.5 billion in potential investment over the course of a decade from more than 70 projects outlined during the thorough process.
Two additional projects, totaling nearly $2.7 million, were pitched to the RDA by the DeKalb County YMCA and the Embassy Theatre. The board could potentially vote next month on those funding rounds.
The projects must also receive approval from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated the projects have received the funding.