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State Awards Regional Cities Grant To Northeast Indiana

City of Fort Wayne
Riverfront development is one of the proposed projects in the Road to One Million plan.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation voted Tuesday to fund three separate plans for the Regional Cities Initiative. Northeast, North Central and Southwest Indiana could receive $42 million each, but the General Assembly still needs to approve the funding.

The goal of the Regional Cities Initiative is to increase the state’s population. Northeast Indiana’s “Road to One Million” plan includes quality-of-life projects officials hope will grow the region’s population to one million by 2031.

Courtney Tritch of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership says a lot of businesses in the area want to expand, but can’t find enough skilled workers.

“We need to build that talent pipeline for them, and so talent attraction is something we’re committed to, growing that population percentage rate is something we’re committed to, and we think the Road to One Million plan will help us get to that,” she said.

However, the General Assembly has to approve the extra cost of funding the three regions. The new plan would cost $126 million, or $42 million more than originally proposed. The initiative is funded by the state’s tax amnesty program, which collected more money than expected.

It’s unclear what will happen if the legislature doesn’t approve the funds or when the regions will receive the money.

The IEDC also voted to continue support for the four regions not chosen, and Gov. Mike Pence expressed his support for funding another Regional Cities Initiative.

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