NEWBURGH - A nearly $5 million project in southwest Indiana has received funding from the state's Regional Cities Initiative. The state has approved $2 million toward the Friedman Park Event Center, a multi-use facility that will be built within the 140-acre Friedman Park in Newburgh.

The 16,000-square-foot event center will be used primarily to host events, conferences and corporate events, as well as community and business functions. The Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana says it will also help promote the area as a desirable destination for residents and visitors.

"Building a national brand that helps to attract and retain talent is a top priority for Indiana’s Great Southwest," said Beth McFadin Higgins, president of the Southwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, which administers the Regional Cities funding for the region. "Considering the competition for jobs, investment and population growth opportunities, it is essential that the region leverage and build on every opportunity to improve and promote its brand to the nation and the world."

The EDC says the event center, combined with the construction of Friedman Park, amounts to a $11.6 million that will create a "transformative regional destination." Work on the event center is expected to be complete in 2020.

"Through transformative projects like the Friedman Park Event Center, the region is investing in quality of place assets for both current and future residents,” said Elaine Bedel, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. "With this new event center, which is next to one of Indiana’s most popular golf destinations, southwest Indiana will gain a major cultural and economic amenity that promotes tourism in Warrick County and supports the region’s efforts to attract and retain talent."