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Regional Cities Initiative Impact Announced

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Regional Cities LogoThe Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at Ball State University recently released phase one of a multi-part study on Indiana’s Regional Cities Initiative.

Started in 2015, the Regional Cities Initiative is intended to “help communities across Indiana come together to transform their regions into nationally-recognized destinations to live, work and play,” by offering funding and other support for regions to pursue improvement plans, backed by private investment, according to the initiative’s website.
CBER’s phase one results show that total current investment across the three regions selected by the state is more than $1.2 billion, with the majority of that figure sourced from private investment. Currently, the state has pledged $122 million towards planned projects. According to the study, $55 million is expected as a return over the next three years via new tax revenue.

Northeast Indiana was one of the regions selected, and according to Great Fort Wayne Inc.’s CEO Eric Doden, one year into the implementation of the plan, progress is “pretty remarkable.” In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Doden said the program is succeeding in its main objectives of attracting both talent and capital to the region.

“Equally as exciting to me is that there was a project in almost every one of the 11 counties (of Northeast Indiana) and the stories behind that are just remarkable in terms of people having excitement in their communities.”

Along with funding, the study says projects across the three regions could be responsible for as many as 8,000 new Indiana residents in the next eight years.

South Bend Regional Chamber CEO Jeff Rea is equally happy with how the Initiative is going: “This opportunity to leverage private investment and accelerate vital projects has a significant impact in growing jobs, wages and community pride,” Rea said.

The study by CBER is ongoing, with a second phase to examine qualitative effects of the initiative expected to be completed in 2018. The study was initiated by the Metro Chamber Alliance, a partnership of some of the largest chamber organizations in the state.

For more information about the Regional Cities Initiative, visit: www.iedc.in.gov/programs/regional-cities-initiative/home

For more information about the phase one results from CBER’s study, visit: projects.cberdata.org/130/regional-cities-initiative-preliminary-economic-impacts