Northeast Indiana’s Road to One Million economic development plan was selected as a regional winner of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s (IEDC) Regional Cities funding.
Northeast Indiana’s winning Road to One Million plan, spearheaded by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and Greater Fort Wayne Inc., is the rallying cry for Northeast Indiana to reach one million residents. To achieve that goal, Northeast Indiana needs to accelerate the current annual growth rate from 0.7 percent annually to just over 2 percent.
The state’s $42 million funding, which will be matched through private investment locally, will support game-changing quality of place projects with the goal of economic growth, population growth and increasing national brand identity.
“This is a historic day for Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana. The state’s matching funds will provide a huge boost to our determined battle for talent and good jobs in a global marketplace,” said John Sampson, President and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. “Our thanks go to Governor Mike Pence and the Northeast Indiana delegation for their courage and leadership. Together, we take another step forward to strengthen Indiana’s competitive economic position in the Midwest.”
This accelerated growth is truly transformative and the direct objective of the region. The impact would be immediately beneficial in meeting the workforce demands of area employers by dramatically expanding the population of workers in the 25 to 44 year old demographic. Beyond this positive benefit, real GDP for the region would practically double current real GDP to over $60 billion on the Road to One Million plan. This would increase total wages within the region by more than $8 billion.
“When the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative asked our state’s regions to be bold, Northeast Indiana delivered,” said Governor Mike Pence. “As the largest region geographically, Hoosiers across Northeast Indiana embraced the opportunity to plan regionally by jumping across city lines and county boundaries. Through this collaboration, the region has a plan for dynamic projects, such as the redevelopment of Fort Wayne’s riverfront and the restoration of downtown communities throughout the area. Northeast Indiana residents will look back and see Indiana’s bicentennial as the time when Hoosiers came together to prepare for a better tomorrow.
Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana’s regional development plan is focused on four critical thematic areas that support a world-class quality of place: arts and cultural assets; greenways and blueways; downtowns and community development; and education and industry.
The full portfolio of $1.4 billion in investments features 70 projects including phase 1 projects (years 1 and 2); longer term projects (years 3-8 implementation); and ideas for projects beyond the state’s initial 8-year timeframe.
“We are well-positioned for this unique moment in history for Fort Wayne. With the Road to One Million plan underway and numerous quality of place projects ready to launch, we will accelerate our progress,” said John Urbahns, Executive Vice President of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. “We are demonstrating that the strength of collaboration between economic professionals of our region can provide huge benefits to our communities.”
With more than a decade of truly regional collaboration, Northeast Indiana formed the largest Regional Development Authority (RDA) in the state. The quasi-governmental entity, which represents Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties, will be responsible for the funding available through the Regional Cities Initiative. Next, the RDA will work to fund the near-term portfolio of projects in 2016 and to develop administrative procedures and processes.
“Northeast Indiana is especially strong because we have built trust and know how to work together to accomplish the most difficult of projects,” said Jeff Turner, Senior Vice President of Metal Technologies and chair of Northeast Indiana’s RDA. “We realize that great things do not come easily and we are ready to bring reality to these critical projects.”
This December, the Regional Opportunities Council (ROC), the investor board for Regional Partnership, voted to add the Road to One Million plan to the list of Vision2020 initiatives priorities under the Quality of Life pillar. This addition will create a strong quality of place and offer increased social and cultural amenities to attract young talent and tourists, as well as provide an asset to current residents.
To celebrate the win, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and Greater Fort Wayne Inc. are hosting a Road to One Million Kick-Off Celebration event, presented by Barrett McNagny, the evening of Thursday, January 21 at the Grand Wayne Center, 120 W. Jefferson Blvd., Fort Wayne. More details and a formal invitation to the community are to come.
To learn more about Regional Cities or follow the progress of the Northeast Indiana’s RDA, visit our website at www.neindiana.com/regionalcities.
About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership focused on generating business leads and building regional capacity through product development and effective regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. Through its combined efforts in business development and capacity building, the Partnership supports its 11 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. For more information, visit www.neindiana.com.
About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, as its primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc.’s main focus is on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention and community engagement. To learn more, visit www.GreaterFortWayneInc.com.