Economic Development

A Regional Innovated Driver for Your Community

Providing for Your Community

Thrive West Central is a regional innovative driver which provides communities with project development, planning and technical expertise, consulting, grant writing, and grant administration. Thrive, formerly WCIEDD, is accredited by the Economic Development Administration (EDA), an organization through the U.S. Department of Commerce, to provide economic development services to the West Central Indiana region. Thrive has served the region in this capacity since 1968.

The availability of safe, affordable, age friendly, and quality housing plays a critical role in economic growth and quality of life. Without it, residents may experience housing instability, financial hardship, health issues, and limited economic mobility. Moreover, these challenges experienced by individuals and families also impact businesses as they face difficulty in recruiting and retaining employees. As West Central Indiana seeks to reverse its trend of population decline, the region must have adequate housing to meet the demands of current and prospective residents at their various stages of life and income levels.

Key findings of this analysis are:



Thrive has prepared a Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), a federally required economic strategy for Clay, Montgomery, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion, and Vigo Counties. This plan was developed with local leaders and economic development professionals.

The CEDS is a strategy-driven plan for regional economic development. It provides an opportunity for local leaders, organizations, institutes of learning, and private industries to engage in a meaningful conversation about what capacity-building efforts would best serve economic development in the region. The CEDS provides a summary background of the economic conditions in the region, an analysis of regional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, a vision, goals, and action plan, and an evaluation framework to measure the implementation and impact on the regional economy.

Over the course of 18 months, Thrive West Central has worked diligently to develop a resiliency plan which addresses our region’s most pressing economic issues. Resilient is intended to serve as a guide for communities as they look to emerge from the pandemic and prepare for future economic crises.

Thrive Launches

It can be hard to access capital as a new or growing business. Thrive is dedicated to encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit that drives business development in our communities. Working with local governments, the Just Transition Fund, the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the U.S. Department of Agricultural (USDA), we are accepting applications to provide low interest loans to businesses in Clay, Montgomery, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion, and Vigo counties. [Learn More]

Regional Plans & Studies

Thrive West Central is dedicated to enhancing community assets while improving the overall quality of life in West Central Indiana through problem solving, quality service, and collaborative partnerships. Within this mission our team understands the importance of advising and providing community leaders with information rooted in data to support sound decision-making.

Our passion for knowledge, innovation, collaboration, and regional prosperity has led us to partner with multiple community, regional, state, and national groups to begin creating an advanced data support system to build the competitive assets of our region.

Strategic Plan, Comprehensive Strategies, and Data Reports

Regional Information

Clay County offers a small-town community with closely-knit residents. This county offers local stops and plenty of outdoor experiences. Walking down Brazil’s Main Street to explore the booming local businesses or taking a walk around one of the many Clay County parks will show you this growing county’s economic and societal development.

Home to 26,225 people, Clay County encompasses 9 different towns with their own successful communities. The rural county covers 360.32 square miles. While each city offers its own environment, Brazil, Indiana is currently Clay County’s largest town with a population of 8,064.

County Commissioner

  • Bryan Allender
  • Marty Heffner
  • Paul Sinders

County Council

  • Jackie Mitchell
  • Jason Britton
  • Patricia (Pat) Heffner
  • Jason Thomas
  • Larry J. Moss
  • John Nicson
  • Dave Amerman

Known as the “Covered Bridge Capital of the World,” Parke County hosts a blossoming environment for communal growth. Parke County’s annual Covered Bridge Festival hosts thousands of people everywhere boasting economic successes for the county and individual vendors.  Parke County also contains one of the Midwest’s most treasured state park: Turkey Run.

The small but booming county has a population estimated at 16,937. The seven different towns spread to an estimated 449.98 square miles. The current largest town in Parke County, Rockville, has a population size of 2,499.

County Commissioner

  • Jim Meece
  • Dan R. Collom
  • Bruce Hartman

County Council

  • John Pratt
  • Jack B. Butler
  • Larry Gambaiani
  • James E. Howard
  • Rick Patton
  • Thomas E. Stambaugh,
  • Roy Wrightsman

An ever-growing community, Putnam county hosts fun local shops, lush, adventurous outdoor parks and a recognized college. In the 2020-21 school year, DePauw welcomed 1,752 students into Putnam County. This bustling college county encourages economic development through its successful community of unique local businesses and enhanced experiences for its citizens.

As of 2019, Putnam County has a population of 37,576. The largest city in Putnam County is right where DePauw can be found, Greencastle, hosting a population of 10,530. With eight towns and unincorporated communities making up its population, it reaches 482.69 square miles.

County Commissioner

  • David Berry
  • Don Walton
  • Rick Woodall

County Council

  • Gene Beck
  • Keith Berry
  • Jill Bridgewater
  • David Fuhrman
  • Phillip Gick
  • Larry Parker
  • Darrel Thomas

Sullivan County offers many green landscapes through its vast land and numerous parks. Most notably, Shakamak State Park is a designated favorite by many tourists. Sullivan County’s towns all bring forward a variety of beloved eateries and shopping locations that push forward the success of the county.

The seven towns within this county account for its population of 20,669. With 452.12 square miles of land, it has plenty of room to continue growing. The largest city in Sullivan County is Sullivan with an estimated 4,109 people.

County Commissioner

  • Robert Davis
  • Ray McCammon
  • John Waterman

County Council

  • Matt Chickaduance
  • Jackie Monk
  • Wes Scarbrough
  • Logan Pearison
  • Jerry C. Payne
  • Curtis Bedwell
  • Nick Cullison

Located right along the Indiana-Illinois border, this county sees many who travel through on their way to Chicago and Indianapolis. The small towns within it offer a homey feeling that welcome businesses and residents alike. The county currently has an estimated population of 15,498 with Clinton making up 4,717 of that total. The county has a size of an estimated 259.93 square miles.

County Commissioners

  • Britton Luther
  • Tim Yocum
  • RJ Dunavan

County Council

  • Rick Weir
  • Brent Bush
  • Neil Costello
  • Randy Dreher
  • Kelly Summerville
  • Martin Brown
  • Ashley James

The largest county in West Central Indiana, Vigo County boasts a variety of attractions for those in the Midwest. Home to four colleges, diverse restaurants and many shops, the county has made great strides for economic development and the betterment of its residents’ lives.  Individuals can spend hours exploring this county and its many enjoyable elements.

Vigo County, being the largest of the West Central Indiana counties, has a population estimated around 107,038. Terre Haute is currently the most populated town in the with an estimated 60,753 individuals. The county is about 410.45 square miles and hosts seven different towns.

County Commissioners

  • Mike Morris
  • Brendan Kearns

County Council

  • Aaron Loudermilk
  • David Thompson
  • Vicki Weger
  • Brenda Wilson
  • Don Morris
  • Marie Theisz
  • Travis Norris

Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones are a select group of economically distressed areas designated for long-term private investment and economic growth.  Following the passage of corresponding federal legislation in 2017, each state nominated a set of low-income Census tracts to receive the Opportunity Zone designation. Private investment in Opportunity Zones is eligible for deferral on the federal capital gains tax, making these areas especially attractive for private investment and development. At Thrive, we plan to work with community partners to drive business investment in the five Opportunity Zones in our region, and to help these areas become vibrant hubs of innovation and commerce. (Sources: Opportunity Investment Consortium Indiana, Forbes).

(Click on a zone for more information)

Promised Growth.

Dedicated Quality of Life.

Dedicated Care.