Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties have collectively received an Economic Development Designation from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The designation helps open the region to federal funding to help bolster economic projects and plans, according to the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.

Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the NIRPC has been seeking the designation from the Commerce Department for years.

"They understood the concerns of northwest Indiana in seeking the designation, and the benefit that it could bring for economic development in our region," said Geof Benson, NIRPC member.

NIRPC is a council made up of local governments from 41 municipalities to address regional issues relating to transportation, the environment, and economic development. The paper says the EDD will help northwest Indiana find another avenue to attract public works grants.

Receiving the designation “will serve as the foundation for future economic successes that will benefit both families and business and will strengthen the economies of the Northwest Indiana region,” said John Fleming, an assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce for Economic Development.

Regional planning authorities, like the NIRPC, attempt to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of a plan to strengthen and diversify a regional economy. Click here to read the complete story from The Times of Northwest Indiana.