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Friday, July 16 is the final deadline to submit project and program proposals to be included in the regional development plan for Indiana’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) Program.

Northeast Indiana RDA Board President Gene Donaghy said now is the time to connect with local economic development offices on project or program proposals.

“With the July 16 deadline looming for regional projects and programs to be included in Northeast Indiana’s regional development plan, counties are holding a variety of local meetings and discussions about proposals with project and program owners to answer questions or discuss the proposal process,” noted Donaghy. “While we aren’t able to give an accurate count of projects that have applied at this time, all 11 counties are actively supporting and participating in this initiative.”

Projects and programs must be submitted through an online form to the local economic development office where the project or program is located to be considered in Northeast Indiana’s READI Program application. For projects or programs that have a regional scope or that impact multiple counties, the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) board and Local Economic Development Organization (LEDO) Council will review the application for consideration in the overall plan.

Additionally, the proposal form requests information on how the project or program submission aligns with pre-identified categories of economic impact for the region’s application. These categories include:

  • Grow the Workforce
  • Downtown Vibrancy
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation

TIP Strategies, a nationally-recognized consulting firm hired to develop the application collaboratively with the RDA, said local economic developers have seen many project and program proposals submitted so far.

“In the coming weeks, we will work collaboratively with local officials to develop and submit the regional development plan by the Aug. 31 READI submission deadline,” said Tracye McDaniel, President of TIP Strategies.

Ryan Twiss, vice president of talent initiatives for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said the Indiana Economic Development Corp. will award up to $50 million per region. In the end, the total project investment will be a mix of public funds and private matching funds, creating a substantial impact in Northeast Indiana even greater than $50 million.

“A project must be funded at least 60% from private investment, with up to 20% in public money or in-kind contributions. No more than 20% for a project may come from the READI grant or other state funding,” said Twiss. “Much like the Regional Cities Initiative, we’re working quickly to vet the most transformational regional projects and programs to develop our regional development plan and leverage public and private funds to grow our region.”

All project and program proposals are confidential and considered preliminary until finalized and presented to the RDA board. This is an extremely competitive process and there is no guarantee that all project or program proposals will be included in the plan. Further, if a project or program proposal is included in the regional plan, that does not ensure READI program funding. If a project or program proposal is not included in the plan, that does not prevent the project or program from receiving READI program funding.

To access the online project or program proposal online forms, please visit the website at www.neindiana.com/rda or reach out to the local economic development organization in your county by visiting www.neindiana.com/LEDO.

Summary of READI Program Timeline

Q3 2021

  • July-August—Regions develop strategic plans
  • By August 31—Regional plans are due

Q4 2021

  • September-October—IEDC application review and regional presentations
  • December—First round of investment decisions are made and financial partnerships announced