Indiana regions passed over for state money continue search

Officials in four Indiana regions that failed to win a share of millions of state redevelopment dollars are looking to other sources that could fund their dream projects for spurring local growth.

Four Indiana regions lost out to the Fort Wayne, Evansville and South Bend areas in the funding announced last week. The three winning regions are getting $42 million each from Gov. Mike Pence's Regional Cities initiative. Northwest Indiana, the Wabash River region, the Indianapolis area and Muncie will receive guidance from the Indiana Department of Economic Development's Board of Directors and other state leaders in implementing their proposed plans, state officials said.

The Tribune-Star reports that the Wabash River region's Vigo, Sullivan and Knox counties are now working with state officials to focus and build on their existing ideas to pursue targeted grants and other private funding sources. In Vincennes, for example, revitalization of the riverfront Kimmel Park is underway. Knox County's Parks and Recreation Department has transferred the deed to Vincennes University, which will be connected to downtown through the park.

And The Star Press reports that east-central Indiana officials spent more than $160,000 in their unsuccessful effort to win a share of the Regional Cities funding. Costs covered the expense of organizing public and private meetings this spring and summer to formulate the proposal for funding, which included not only Delaware County but Madison County and others in East Central Indiana, as well as production and submission of East Central's 134-page proposal and other expenses.

Terry Murphy of the Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance, said 58 percent of the funds were donated by the private sector and the rest was public money.

"Though we were not a Phase I funded project, support for the program's continuation and implementation remains strong." Murphy said. "We will continue to work to build upon the plan and implement the projects identified in the plan while adding new projects as appropriate."

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