A multi-pronged economic development initiative is underway in northeast Indiana, including an effort to attract a new eastbound flight for Fort Wayne. The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership is allocating nearly $100,000 to fund three Vision 2020 priority projects. Vice President of Regional Initiatives Katie Silliman says chief executives in the region believe better access to potential East Coast customers is “critically important.”

December 16, 2013

News Release

Fort Wayne, Ind. — At its final meeting in 2013, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership's Regional Opportunities Council (ROC) allocated $94,000 to fund three Vision 2020 priority projects that will support economic development in Northeast Indiana. The meeting was held December 12 in conjunction with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce's Regional Forum.

The ROC, which is comprised of over 100 regional leaders, oversees the Partnership's Vision 2020 initiative. It determines the region's priorities within five key economic growth areas — 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life – aimed at increasing per capita income in the region and developing, attracting and retaining talent.

At its final meeting in 2013, the ROC elected its funding opportunities for priorities in 2014:

Funding target: Attract a new eastbound flight to Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA)

Funding amount: $50,000

Purpose: In the fall, the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority, with support from Vision 2020's Air Service Committee, secured a $600,000 grant from the Small Community Air Service Development Program to pursue a new flight to FWA. The funds committed by the ROC will be the first private investments made to support a revenue guarantee program needed to bring a new flight to Fort Wayne.

Funding target: Assemble and prioritize a list of desired interstate projects within the region that can be used in lobbying efforts at the state level

Funding amount: $35,000

Purpose: This investment will support the hiring of a consultant to assist economic development officials in all 10 counties with the completion of Economic Development Impact Profiles for interstate projects in their counties. The consultant will then help prioritize projects at a regional level. The prioritized list will be used to lobby for support at the Indiana Statehouse.

Funding target: Increase awareness of downtown riverfront development potential

Funding amount: $9,000

Purpose: These funds will be used to conduct river tours for area leaders to show the development potential along the rivers in downtown Fort Wayne. A portion of the allocation will also serve as the matching funds the Tri-State Watershed Alliance needs to apply for a grant that would provide educational opportunities for area students to learn about the rivers.

“We've seen great momentum building on our priorities this year,” said Parkview Health President and CEO Mike Packnett, who is chairman of the Partnership's governing board and a member of the ROC. “We believe the funding opportunities that the ROC has elected for 2014 will allow us to keep that momentum going.”

In addition to the three priorities receiving funding, the ROC and Vision 2020 will continue to move forward next year on its other priorities for the region: the Big Goal, streamlined permitting and regional broadband access.

“When leaders throughout our region work together, great things can happen,” said Katy Silliman, vice president of regional initiatives at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. “The priorities outlined by the ROC are not easy to accomplish. It's encouraging to see the commitment demonstrated by leaders throughout Northeast Indiana to reach these goals. That determination has positioned Northeast Indiana for success in the increasingly competitive economic climate.”

To find out more about the priorities set forth by the ROC, visit the Vision 2020 website.

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership creating business investment by generating business leads, developing product and fostering regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. The 10 counties of Northeast Indiana include Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. For more information, visit www.NEIndiana.com .

Source: Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

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