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Regional Development Authority hears request from Columbia City asking to fund Russel and Evelyn Fahl Aquatics Center

From reports

The Board of the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) met Tuesday to consider requests for Regional Cities Initiative funding for projects submitted by The Landing and the Clyde Theatre Renovation Project in Allen County, as well as several other projects including a grant request of $861,304 for the proposed Russel and Evelyn Fahl Aquatics Center in Columbia City. The request represents 20% of the funding for the $4,258,751 project.
Columbia City councilman Tad Varga, who has been a supporter of the project and has been spearheading much of the fundraising, reported to fellow Columbia City Council members Tuesday evening that the request went well and he's optimistic about the outcome. It will be several weeks until it is clear whether the project will receive funding. Thus far, millions of dollars have been earmarked for projects across northeast Indiana, however no dollars have been awarded to projects in Whitley County to date.
The RDA Board voted to support two projects including:
The Landing in Allen County, which requested a $6,904,023 grant, representing 20 percent of the $34,520,117 of the project's total cost; and
The Clyde Theatre Renovation Project in Allen County, which requested a $1,000,000 grant, representing 20 percent of the $5,030,000 of the project's total cost.
"We are developing national brand identity for Northeast Indiana. We know it will take creative and groundbreaking projects across the region to meet our goal of increasing regional population to 1 million residents. Fort Wayne's vibrant downtown serves as the urban core of our region and today's funding illustrates the critical role all of our regional counties play in the Road to One Million plan and our mission to attract and retain talent," said RDA board chairman Bob Marshall, executive vice president of Campbell & Fetter Bank.
The Board's recommendation now goes to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) for review and final approval to receive funding.
The board also heard presentations from seven other projects including:
Riverfront Park Fort Wayne Phase I in Allen County, which requested a $5,276,000 grant, representing 20 percent of the $26,381,000 of the project's total cost;
Eagles Theatre Project in Wabash County, which requested a $996,567 grant, representing 20 percent of the $4,982,838 of the project's total cost;
Wabash Trails in Wabash County, which requested a $960,236 grant, representing 20 percent of the $4,801,180 of the project's total cost;
Strawberry Valley Cultural Trail in LaGrange County, which requested a $254,000 grant, representing 20 percent of the $1,270,175 of the project's total cost;
Fishing Line Trail in Noble County, which requested a $175,000 grant, representing 17 percent of the $1,023,673 of the project's total cost; and
Kendallville Outdoor Recreation Center in Noble County, which requested a $400,000 grant, representing almost 17 percent of the $2,388,132 of the project's total cost.
The RDA also reported on the progress of the following Road to One Million projects, which are either approved or under review by the RDA or the IEDC:
Skyline Tower;
Trine University;
University of Saint Francis;
Embassy Theatre;
The DeKalb County YMCA;
Little River Trail;
Manchester Early Learning Center;
Buffalo Street Redevelopment Project;
Fort Wayne Regional Trails;
South Adams Trails;
The Enterprise Center;
The United Brethren (UB) Block;
Posterity Heights Scholar House; and
Michiana Event Center;
The Landing; and
The Clyde Theatre Renovation Project.
In addition, the RDA voted to temporarily suspend review of new projects.
"The Regional Cities funding that has been requested exceeds the amount we have available to disperse. Until we resolve that, we will have to temporarily suspend the review of new projects," said Michael Galbraith, director of the Road to One Million at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.
The RDA is responsible for disbursement of the $42 million in funding granted to the region through the Regional Cities Initiative. The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, which helped lead the effort to secure the Regional Cities Initiative funding, also provides staffing support to the RDA.
As of February 2017, the Northeast Indiana RDA has recommended $33.8 million in funding to the IEDC, leveraging $130.6 million in private investment in the region.
The purpose of the Regional Cities Initiative funding is to attract and retain talent by providing financial support for game-changing quality of place projects that will increase economic growth, lead to population growth and enhance the region's national brand identity. Northeast Indiana won the Regional Cities grant in 2015 with its Road to One Million Plan that outlines more than 70 projects and $1.5 billion in investment over the next 10 years.
To learn more about the Northeast Indiana RDA, visit the new website at http://www.neindiana.com/rda.

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