INDIANAPOLIS – Economic development grants totaling $500 million are headed to all of Indiana’s 92 counties.
The Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) is funded by the federal government’s American Rescue Plan.
The grants will finance construction of housing, businesses and amenities like parks. Some communities are also using the funding for infrastructure projects and other community development initiatives.
The goal behind the program is to help each region of Indiana grow by attracting visitors, residents and businesses.
In the Evansville area, officials are looking to address the need for more housing.
“Housing projects in places like Gibson County, in Princeton,” said Greg Wathen, president of the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership. “Housing projects in Mount Vernon.”
The Evansville Regional Economic Partnership, which represents four Southwest Indiana counties, has been awarded $50 million.
To receive the funding, Wathen’s team submitted proposals for several projects, including new housing developments, businesses and apartments along the Ohio River and a robotics training center.
“When you look at our economy, the two largest sectors by far are advanced manufacturing, health and life science,” Wathen said. “And you need robotics for both.”
Indiana’s 92 counties divided themselves into 17 regions to apply for grants of up to $50 million each. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation decided how much funding each region would receive.
In Fishers, officials are looking to use some of the funds to help build a new 100-acre park along the White River, the focus of its region’s application.
“We think there’s at least $50 to 100 million of private development that would coincide with the development of the park,” said Mayor Scott Fadness.
The grants are aimed at funding projects in towns both large and small.
In northeast Indiana, officials plan to use part of their region’s $50 million grant for downtown revitalization in multiple places, not just Fort Wayne, according to Michael Galbraith, administrator for the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority.
“We’re surrounded by 11 different counties, and so each of those counties has at least one major second-class or third-class city in it, and those are the hearts of those individual communities and counties,” Galbraith said.
The requested grants tripled the money that was actually available, according to state officials.
Next, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation will work with communities to make sure they’re following all of the federal requirements for using the grants, according to the governor’s office.
For a complete list of the grants awarded, click here.