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Harrison part of region to get READI funds

Harrison part of region to get READI funds Harrison part of region to get READI funds
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb, Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors approved plans Dec. 14 to award $500 million to support regional development plans across 17 regions representing all 92 Indiana counties, and Harrison County will be one of those to see funding.

The process considered applications for the Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI). The total requests tripled the allocated $500 million READI budget, as submissions from the 17 regions amounted to more than $1.5 billion in demand and detailed nearly 800 projects and programs with a potential investment of $15.2 billion.

The READI review committee, an external seven-member citizen committee, reviewed and scored the plans based on the established guidelines and against other relevant data, including historical population trends.

Harrison County was a part of the Indiana First region, which also includes Knox, Perry, Pike and Spencer counties. The region was awarded $15 million to be divided between the five counties based on proposed projects.

Darrell Voelker, director of the Harrison County Economic Development Corp., has been the one spearheading the project for the county. He had explained to the county governing bodies in July of his intent to work on this project, and they all were receptive to the idea as long as he was able to opt out of projects that didn’t have the support of the county.

Voelker told the commissioners at that time that he simply would not participate or move forward if that were the case. Regional development plans throughout the state included housing, trails, broadband, child care and wellness initiatives and workforce development programs.

In Harrison County, the proposed projects that were applied for include mainly plans to expand or enhance sewer and water districts throughout the county. Voelker said that around $2.7 million was applied for to be used on said projects.

“This partnership between the state and local communities will enhance the lives of Hoosiers and drive economic growth throughout southeast Indiana,” State Rep. Karen Engleman, R-Georgetown, said. “Business is booming in our state, and innovative initiatives like the READI grant program will keep our momentum going. I look forward to seeing our region continue to thrive with new investments.”

Voelker shared that he had a meeting with IEDC on Monday and they are still fine-tuning some of the guidelines for the funds. The region’s review is set for Jan. 26, after which the IEDC will be able to identify specific projects for the region. He also noted he would estimate funding specifics will be seen after March 1.