Indiana to study peer cities to learn growth strategies

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. will conduct a study to compare Indiana cities to others across the region that are economically booming, the IEDC announced Wednesday.

The study – called for by a law that the General Assembly passed earlier this year – will provide Indiana cities with the information and resources to grow and create their own economic development strategies.

The study will be conducted by Fourth Economy Consulting, a group chosen by the IEDC.

“Indiana has become a national role model for economic development as other states have enacted similar business-friendly policies, practiced fiscal discipline and replicated the IEDC’s structure,” said IEDC President Eric Doden in a prepared statement.

“But we also have our eye on other states, where several cities have transformed themselves into regional economic powerhouses,” he said. “We need to know what our Indiana cities can do to energize growth and witness a tomorrow even more prosperous than today.”

Pence called for the General Assembly to pass the law during his State of the State address earlier this year and it received bipartisan support. Pence said he wanted a study of regional cities across the country to help identify what works best for economic development.

The bill requires the study to be done by Oct. 1, well before the 2015 General Assembly. The IEDC will pay for the study.

The law’s supporters said the study is meant to focus on medium-sized Hoosier cities that serve as the economic hubs for their regions. That could include Fort Wayne, South Bend, Evansville, Terre Haute and others.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation is also hoping the study will lead Indiana community leaders to think differently about economic development. They can then use the information from the study to identify their strengths, cultural amenities, industry assets and natural resources. Once these strengths are identified, the cities can then make a economic vision for growth.

“A strong foundation of manufacturing, life sciences, logistics and agriculture has helped our Hoosier cities build a solid base for growth,” Doden said.

“Given Indiana’s core assets, this initiative will help our communities continue to grow and better attract talent and capital. Indiana’s economic success – like that of every state – depends on attracting and retaining talented and productive individuals and companies,” he said. “Following a strong vision, I’m confident that Indiana will continue to remain a competitive location for business and a vibrant place to call home."

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