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Deadline to apply for Indiana economic development funds is this week

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks at a microphone in front of a branded banner.
Lauren Chapman
IPB News
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb launched the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) in 2021. The state announced details of the second round of funding — $500 million statewide — earlier this month.

Southern Indiana entities have through Wednesday to submit project proposals for the state’s second round of Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) funding.

The READI program launched in 2021, awarding $500 million to regional organizations across the state in its first round of funding.

The program is aimed at promoting economic growth and talent attraction and retention across the state.

Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority received over $50 million in the first round for projects in Clark, Floyd, Jefferson, Scott and Washington counties.

Projects included support for the Monon Trail South, Origin Park along the Ohio River and infrastructure improvements to foster residential and commercial growth.

John Launius is vice president of economic development at One Southern Indiana, the area’s chamber of commerce.

“These dollars have really motivated communities to look at themselves not as a local town or municipality, but really thinking about where their opportunities are and really working together as cross-county partners to prioritize and really elevate some really generational projects,” he said.

The 2021 funds supported projects to regional organizations across the state.

Cory Cochran is the executive director at River Hills Economic Development District, which administers the READI grant to the region.

“The READI program has been transformative in our region, hands down,” he said. “For our region to get more than $50 million in the first round, and invest that into both infrastructure and quality-of-life projects, our region has been a huge benefit of that.”

Cochran said for this round, they’re looking for infrastructure or capital improvement projects that focus on economic development or growth. He said each regional group could see up to $75 million in state funding this round, of the total $500 million this year.

He said the state funds should account for up to 20% of the project cost, with around 20% locally and 60% from private investment.

“We're a huge success story with the READI program in our region,” he said. “We really expect [this round] to be no different. We think that the private investment is still going to follow the second round of READI, so we're really excited.”

Cochran said the Indiana Economic Development Commission expects to award funding for the second round of projects in the spring.

“Innovation knows no boundaries, and there’s no limit to what can be accomplished when we work together to better the lives of Hoosiers,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a news release earlier this month. “This transformative program will fund projects that lean into a region's strengths while building community gathering places, accessible parks, performing arts centers and expanding the trail system that will have generational impact across each region and with every person who visits our great state.”

For information on applying for the grants, visit https://oursoinrda.org/.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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