Six east central Indiana counties are banding together in hopes of being selected for the statewide Regional Cities Initiative. The steering committee for ADVANCE East Central Indiana is in the public phase of its efforts to identify potential major projects that would benefit from the program. May 4, 2015

News Release

MUNCIE, Ind. – The Steering Committee for the ADVANCE East Central Indiana regional cities planning effort, will begin its public process this week. The initial meetings for participating counties will be conducted beginning May 5. The focus of these meetings is to discuss each county’s opportunities for the future, including identifying important potential projects, according to Terry Murphy, Vice President Muncie-Delaware County, Indiana Economic Development Alliance and a lead coordinator for ADVANCE.

The ADVANCE process is an opportunity to build on current assets and think BIG about the future of East Central Indiana. And to do so through a collaborative planning process that focuses on increasing the prosperity for residents, businesses, institutions, local governments and others to work together and think BIG about making east central Indiana even better in the future.

The leadership of ADVANCE has the confirmed membership of Delaware, Henry, Jay, Madison, and Randolph Counties. Two additional counties are considering joining. All together, the region includes just over 420,000 residents, and more than 140,000 jobs.

“The impetus for the project was the opportunity to participate in the State’s Regional Cities Initiative, but we believe this kind of collaborative effort is simply good stewardship,” said Tom Bracken, BSU Trustee and member of the ADVANCE Steering Committee . This program was initiated through the Indiana Economic Development Council, and is encouraging communities to develop a vision and action plans that will “attract and retain future generations of Hoosiers.” A goal of the initiative is to develop an eight-year plan that will help lead to transformational change throughout the East Central Indiana Region.

The state is asking Indiana regions and communities to develop plans that enhance and build cities and regions by identifying assets including talent-base, infrastructure, business climate, quality of place amenities and more. The initiative’s incentive program could bring additional resources and attention to East Central Indiana.

The Steering Committee has made a commitment to an open process and anyone with an interest in the continued prosperity of the region is encouraged to get involved.

A Community Summit will be hosted in early June. Anyone with an interest in the future of the region will be encouraged to attend and share their ideas for the future. More information on the upcoming summit will be made available on the project’s website, www.advance-eci.org.

The program’s research and facilitation efforts are being led by Ninigret Partners of Providence, Rhode Island and planningNEXT of Columbus, Ohio. Phase 1 of work will be completed by July 1st.

For more information please contact Kyle May, Project Consultant, with planning NEXT, kyle@planning-next.com.

Source: The Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance

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