The Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization has been awarded a $120,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to develop an economic development strategy for the eight-county region.

The EDA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, says the funding is designed to help communities to “prevent, prepare for, and respond” to economic setbacks caused by the coronavirus.

IMPO says by formulating the strategy, it will position the region to access more federal funding for future projects, such as highway expansion and other economic development efforts.

As the project moves forward, it will include hiring a consultant to strategize with IMPO staff.

A committee comprised of individuals throughout the eight-county region will be named in January and begin meeting in March.

IMPO says it intends to submit the economic development strategy to U.S. EDA by the end of 2021 with the eventual creation of an Economic Development District.