The first leader of the Eastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission says five counties will benefit from the new collaboration. The organization’s board leadership was put into place last week and Executive Director Jeff Plasterer says the manufacturing, agriculture and health care-heavy region can feed off individual successes. The EIRPC will fill the void left by the Eastern Indiana Development District, which experienced financial issues and disbanded more than four years ago.
Plasterer tells Inside INdiana Business research shows workers will travel from county-to-county and Fayette, Randolph, Rush, Union and Wayne County workers have a tendency to commute.
He adds "this area of the state traditionally has been hard-hit by the downtown in manufacturing, the shrinking size of manufacturing." However, Plasterer says there opportunities for all communities to gain as certain areas experience "a bit of a resurgence." He says "each of our counties is really too small individually for the particular skillsets that an employer might need, so they reach out into the surrounding counties."
The board leadership includes one representative from each county:
Chariman- Ken Paust, Wayne County Commissioner
Vice-Chairman- Mike Wickersham, Randolph County Commissioner
Secretary- Dan Parker, Economic Development Group for Connersville/Fayette County Executive Director
Treasurer- Rushville Mayor Mike Pavey
Board Member- Alan Alcorn, Union County Commissioner
Plasterer says the organization is in its early stages and will open leaders throughout the region more opportunities to work together. Plans call for development of an economic development plan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s Stronger Economies Together initiative.