The chief executive officer of Michiana Partnership believes a new group formed to capitalize on the proposed statewide Regional Cities Initiative is already serving as a collaboration catalyst. Regina Emberton, who also serves as spokeswoman for Regional Cities of Northern Indiana, says dozens of leaders from four counties have been “full speed ahead” creating a “transformational,” long-term plan. She believes the effort could lead to around $20 million in investment. Leaders from Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall and St. Joseph counties are involved in the planning process.

The Indiana Senate is currently working out funding for the project through the biennial budget process. Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. initially asked for $84 million to fund the initiative. The House-approved version of the measure reduced that total.

Several other organizations throughout the state including One Southern Indiana and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership have also touted their efforts to secure the program's backing.

Proposals are due to the state June 30.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

March 10, 2015

News Release

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Since November 2014, business, philanthropic, academic and government leaders from Indiana cities across Elkhart, St. Joseph, Marshall and Kosciusko counties have been working collectively to identify a short list of bold economic development projects that will help transform the economy of the entire four-county region. Today, the group announced it's name as Regional Cities of Northern Indiana.

“We need business site-selectors who are looking for a place to locate in the Midwest, as well as our own Indiana state legislators to know exactly who we are and where we are,” commented Jeff Rea, President and CEO of the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce.

“Obscure or esoteric names just don't work if you can't find them on a map. So we simply called ourselves Regional Cities of Northern Indiana for a practical, goal-driven reason.”

“This is one of the most exciting and promising project groups I've ever been part of,” said Mark Dobson IOM, President & CEO of the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce. “Working together for the benefit of our entire region are the most-influential business, philanthropic and academic leaders in all of northern Indiana. You can feel the excitement. We're on the verge of transforming this entire region for the benefit of every man, woman and child who lives here.”

What's at stake initially for the Regional Cities of Northern Indiana group is a significant source of funding that Governor Mike Pence has proposed as a new economic grant program called the Regional Cities Initiative. The program, currently under consideration by the state legislature, is designed to boost economic development with transformational projects that stimulate new kinds of economic activity and population growth across entire regions.

The Pence proposition is that coordinated regional economic development, as opposed to traditional development that begins and ends at county lines, should be fueled at times by strategic investment from the state. That same investment and coordinated regional development will be rewarded by the real world marketplace.

Governor Pence hopes to see precisely the kind of cross-county, private/public enthusiasm and coordination that the Regional Cities of Northern Indiana group has already been demonstrating for many months.

“It's exciting to see so many leaders coming together for the whole region,” said Rich Overmoyer, President & CEO of Fourth Economy and consultant to the Regional Cities of Northern Indiana. “This is precisely what it takes to make transformational change.”

Only two regions in the state will receive grant monies from the program. Application criteria specify regional groups must present “transformational” projects that are both “shovel-ready” and can be measured in terms of progress within 18 months of breaking ground. The Northern Indiana group will submit what it considers to be the most transformational projects for this region to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) by June 30 this year.

“As someone who officially represents over half a million people in these four counties, I am excited about so many leaders, particularly from private industry, working together under this new Regional Cities of Northern Indiana umbrella,” commented James Turnwald, Executive Director of Michiana Area Council of Government (MACOG). “When you have 35 cities and towns in one region working together toward common goals, good things will happen.” MACOG is a regional intergovernmental agency established to foster cooperative, coordinated and comprehensive planning activities for Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall and St. Joseph counties in Indiana.

“This cross-county, multi-city, non-parochial dynamic comes at a strategically vital time for Northern Indiana,” says Regina Emberton, CEO of Michiana Partnership and principal spokesperson for the Regional Cities of Northern Indiana group. “Traditional geographic boundaries are virtually meaningless in today's globally connected, economic development world. To have the best and the brightest minds from across the region working together as a team for the benefit of every city and town is the smartest thing we can possibly do to bring new opportunities and new individuals to the Regional Cities of Northern Indiana.”

About the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative

The Indiana Regional Cities Initiative, developed by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, seeks to approach economic growth and prosperity in Indiana by catalyzing the state’s cities and regions through talent attraction and quality of place initiatives. For more information, visit www.IndianaRegionalCities.com.

About the Regional Cities of Northern Indiana group

The Regional Cities of Northern Indiana group serves every citizen and business organization of Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall and St. Joseph counties through a commitment to pursuing transformational economic development projects and strategic initiatives for the entire four-county region. In doing so, the group consists of and leverages the vast experience and services of Northern Indiana's leading business, academic, philanthropic and government leaders.

Source: The Regional Cities of Northern Indiana

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