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River Hills to receive funds to aid with economic recovery

River Hills to receive funds to aid with economic recovery River Hills to receive funds to aid with economic recovery

River Hills Economic Development District is set to receive a $400,000 grant during the next two years to assist local communities with economic recovery caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant is from the Economic Development Administration, which is underneath the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

The EDA received $1.5 billion from the CARES Act that was passed in response to the initial economic impact of the pandemic. The EDA split up the $1.5 billion among its six regional offices for disbursement. River Hills is included in the Chicago region, along with all other economic development districts in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Indiana is set to receive $3.6 million in grants.

River Hills applied for the maximum amount of the non- competitive grant in early June.

“This is tremendous news for our local communities,” Cory Cochran, River Hills executive director, said. “This grant gives us the ability to increase our capacity to assist our region combat the negative economic effects of COVID-19.”

River Hills provides economic development services to five counties in Southern Indiana: Harrison, Floyd, Washington, Clark and Scott. Within those five counties, they assist 33 local units of governments with their development needs.

“River Hills is already providing a plethora of services to our communities to help them with both large and small development projects,” Cochran said. “These grant funds provide us with much-needed tools and personnel so that we can in turn help our region. We are grateful for the funds and truly see them as a catalyst for us to help our region bounce back.”

Cochran shared his vision that was laid out in the grant application.

“In order for us to truly help our communities, we need to increase our staff and improve our mobile technology to work from anywhere,” he said. “We hope to develop a new regional disaster mitigation plan. This will help our communities plan and prepare for a potential resurgence or future pandemic.”

Cochran anticipates the plan being a collaborative process so that all regional stakeholders will have input.

Also, River Hills will use the funds to assist local communities with their large and small infrastructure project development. The goal is to help the communities develop and begin projects that retain and create jobs within the five-county region. Once projects have been developed, River Hills will work to secure state and federal funding to help the communities pay for the construction.

“We are going to work diligently to ensure that our communities feel the least amount of negative economic impact from the pandemic,” Cochran said. “We will utilize our skills as best as possible to do our part during this crisis.”