Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by Indiana Economic Development Corporation
Sec. Chambers joins region to commemorate READI progress, nearly $100 million invested in quality of life, talent retention and attraction
KOKOMO, Ind. (Jan. 26, 2023) – Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers joined local officials and regional leaders today in Kokomo as the North Central Region celebrated five quality of place investments that will support current and future residents. Fueled by the transformational Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), the region is investing $98.9 million to advance community amenities, infrastructure and workforce development to support talent retention and attraction.
“Across Indiana, communities are making unprecedented investments in their neighborhoods and their people thanks to READI,” said Sec. Chambers. In north central Indiana, the region has come together to advance initiatives focused on quality of life, quality of place and quality of opportunity, and because of their collaboration, the future of the North Central READI region is bright.”
The nationally recognized READI program is allocating $500 million to 17 regions across the state to accelerate shovel-ready projects and programs that are expected to transform Indiana communities, attract talent and improve the quality of life for Hoosiers in the short and long term. The North Central Region, led by the North Central Indiana Regional Planning Council (NCIRPC), was awarded $30 million in READI matching funds to advance its strategies grow its population base, improve quality of place and quality of life, increase and diversity the region’s quality of opportunity, and spur innovation and entrepreneurship to attract and retain talent.
“The North Central region has seen tremendous successes over the past eight years, and the READI investment enables us to rapidly advance that success, keep the momentum going and secure a bright future for our families,” said Paul Wyman, NCIRPC Board President. “Our community leaders work together for a larger purpose, and as a result, we are now seeing unprecedented levels of private investment and job creation.”
Today, the North Central Region announced its first READI funding allocations, designating $9.25 million to support five projects:
- Industry 4.0 Training Lab at Ivy Tech Kokomo
($2M total project investment; $1M READI allocation)
At Ivy Tech Kokomo, READI funds will be used to help prepare the region’s workforce for the future of advancing manufacturing as the sector continues to modernize operations and integrate smart technologies and processes. This initiative will enable the region to proactively develop an educated workforce pipeline and upskill its current workforce to support Industry 4.0 and fuel the future of manufacturing.
- Riverfront Development in Peru
($22.523M total project investment; $2.75M READI allocation)
In Peru, the region is transforming 40 acres of idle real estate along the Wabash River, bringing new vibrancy and quality of place to the area. Revitalization of the riverfront property includes the newly constructed Miami County YMCA and a 174-unit development that will include apartments, duplexes and senior housing. READI funds will be used to enhance the streetscaping at the site along Forrest and Maple streets.
- US-31 & SR-28 Infrastructure in Tipton County
($67M total project investment; $3.5M READI allocation)
In Tipton County, the region is investing in infrastructure near the recently-developed US-31 & SR-28 interchange to facilitate further commercial and residential development in the area and along the SR-28 corridor. The city of Tipton, Tipton County and Tipton Municipal Utilities are partnering to extend water and sanitary sewer services with support from READI funds. The project is expected to lead to $60 million in private investment and development.
- Broadband Development in Cass & Howard Counties
(Cass County: $4.455M total project investment; $1M READI allocation // Howard County: $3.952M total project investment; $1M READI allocation)
The North Central region will allocate $2 million of READI funds to increase broadband in Cass and Howard counties, working to resolve the digital divide and increase digital accessibility. In Cass County, READI funds will build on the county’s prior investment, adding an additional 237 miles of fiber to the existing 117 mile fiber ring. This expansion will increase broadband infrastructure and fill in the gaps inside the ring, creating an affordable, scalable, reliable fiber network supplying upload and download speeds of 1G.
To the southwest, Howard County will build a fiber backbone with an estimated 300 miles of laterals to better serve rural communities, reaching approximately 250 businesses, 3,000 households and five schools.
Through READI, 17 regions across the state that represent all 92 counties are moving forward with projects and programs designed to enhance Indiana’s regions for current and future generations of Hoosiers. Collectively, the state’s $500 million investment is expected to yield more than $9 billion of additional public, private and nonprofit dollars invested in enhancing Indiana’s quality of life, quality of place and quality of opportunity.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is charged with growing the State economy, driving economic development, helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the state. Led by Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers, @SecChambersIN, and governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, @GovHolcomb, the IEDC manages many initiatives, including performance-based tax credits, workforce training grants, innovation and entrepreneurship resources, public infrastructure assistance, and talent attraction and retention efforts. For more information about the IEDC, visit iedc.in.gov.