Dubois County joins READI effort

By Herald Staff

Regional Opportunity Initiatives and Radius Indiana announced that the 11 counties of the Indiana Uplands — including Dubois County — will continue their shared commitment to economic and community prosperity through participation in the Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative, also known as READI.

Each of the 11 counties affirmed their participation in the Indiana Uplands READI application through formal resolutions provided by key entities across the region, including county commissions, city and town councils, school districts, and other entities.

On July 1, ROI notified the Indiana Economic Development Corporation of its intent to seek funding, alongside its partner organizations, through READI on behalf of the Indiana Uplands region, comprised of Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington counties.

“READI, as its acronym so aptly communicates, has the potential to position this region to accelerate the work we have been collectively pursuing through regionally relevant, demand-driven strategies focused on economic growth and community prosperity,” said ROI President and CEO Tina Peterson. “READI will allow our region of 406,000 individuals living in 48 cities and towns to take the next steps in further activating a rural region with rapidly growing technology-driven sectors, world-class education assets, and incredible natural resources. We have momentum, and we are READI to build upon it.”

ROI has opened an online tool to allow Uplands organizations and individuals to provide information on potential projects and programs that have the capacity to grow the region’s economic outcomes through investments in place-based talent, business and quality of place opportunities. The online READI submission tool captures information about the project or program, its regional impact and the anticipated budget. Submissions can represent projects/programs in various stages of development from conception to implementation. Information provided via the tool will inform an updated Indiana Uplands strategic plan and the Regional Development Plan required to participate in READI. The online tool will accept submissions through July 30: https://regionalopportunityinc.org/readi-proposals/

In May, Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation announced the launch of READI. This transformational initiative will dedicate $500 million in state appropriations to strategically advance quality of place and quality of life, innovation, entrepreneurship and talent attraction within self-defined Indiana regions. Through READI, regional grants of up to $50 million will support projects and programs that help make Indiana a magnet for talent and economic growth. Regions will be required to provide matching dollars to leverage the potential of READI.

In addition to involvement by leadership in all 11 counties, ROI and Radius Indiana are coordinating efforts on behalf of the READI program in collaboration with stakeholders representing major regional employers and other anchor institutions.

In 2015, Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded three grants to three organizations totaling $42 million to fund regional development initiatives identified in the 2014 Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in Southwest Central Indiana. Regional Opportunity Initiatives, formed in 2016 alongside the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement and the Indiana Innovation Institute, has a mission to grow potential and possibility in the Uplands through a focus on advanced industry sectors, regionalism, transformative school and workforce redesign, and placemaking strategies.

Radius Indiana is a regional economic development partnership representing eight counties in the Indiana Uplands region: Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Orange, and Washington. Formed in 2009, Radius Indiana also serves as a point of contact in Indiana for Naval Support Activity Crane and leads regional collaboration by leveraging the diverse assets of Southwest Central Indiana to drive attraction, retention, and expansion of business, thereby increasing employment and investment opportunities and quality of life within the region.

“Our region’s wealth of recreational and tourism attractions will really shine brighter as the READI program allows us to enhance the quality of place and nourish the dynamic economic growth and entrepreneurship that are part of the culture here,” said Jeff Quyle, president and CEO of Radius Indiana.

As part of the READI effort, regional stakeholders are working to update the strategic plan developed for Southwest Central Indiana in 2014. Aspects of the updated Indiana Uplands strategic plan, including fundable projects and programs, will be used for the READI application due by August 31, 2021. READI funding decisions are expected to be made by IEDC in December 2021.




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