Last night, June 11, Kosciusko County became the 11th county to pass an ordinance to join the newly formed Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA). The RDA has been formed because only RDAs are eligible to receive the matching funds available through the state’s Regional Cities Initiative. The Northeast Indiana RDA, currently the largest RDA in the state, consists of Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties.
The goal of the Regional Cities Initiative is to make Indiana a magnet for talent attraction by creating a national identity for Indiana cities. Regions have been invited to compete for up to $42 million in state matching funds by submitting proposals with a slate of game-changing, quality of life projects (amenities and attractions that will attract and retain young talent).
“Our region is committed to progressive leadership, so it’s no surprise that we were able to quickly coalesce around forming a Regional Development Authority,” said Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, president of Huntington University and member of the Regional Cities Steering Committee. (Huntington County was the first county to join the RDA.) “Huntington County is proud to be a member of the RDA. We’re ready to seize the opportunities that come with pursuing the Regional Cities Initiative and beyond.”
An RDA may be created between two or more adjacent counties or second class cities (population of 35,000 to 599,999). No funding commitment is required by member communities to create or join. The RDA may apply to the new state funded Indiana Regional City Fund (administered by IEDC) for matching grants and loans; it may also accept loans, grants, and other contributions from federal, state, and private sources.
“I commend each and every one of our partner counties on the time they invested in pursuing the ordinances needed to join the RDA and accelerate growth in our communities. Our region’s willingness to collaborate and adapt allows us to take advantage of unique opportunities like applying for the Regional Cities funding,” said John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. “I am truly inspired by the ingenuity and determination I have witnessed, and I look forward to working together to make Northeast Indiana a top destination for talent.”
Next steps for the RDA include electing a five-member board as outlined by state law. A process for electing a board and an initial set of bylaws will be proposed by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.