West Central Indiana – The Wabash River Regional Development Authority (RDA) submitted its comprehensive READI proposal this week, totaling nearly $300 million in projects for West Central Indiana.
Through the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) tasked regions across the state to submit proposals with idea-ready and shovel-ready projects that address the overall quality of life for their region. The Wabash River RDA submitted projects spanning Clay, Knox, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion, and Vigo Counties with over $73 million in matching READI asks.
“Our application is a compilation of 42 unique projects,” states Greg Goode, President of the Wabash River RDA. “Each project is categorized into workforce development, tourism and quality of life, and entrepreneurship and innovation.”
West Central Indiana’s proposal is one of 18 regional proposals expected to be submitted. The IEDC plans to award $500 million in funding across the state. With the IEDC’s advice to utilize regional planning efforts and creative visions for the future, the Wabash River RDA submitted its proposal knowing it was bold and transformational.
“Understanding every state agency will play a role in the funding efforts over time, we didn’t want to sell our region short,” states Goode. “Our proposal demonstrates our region’s ability to uniquely compete and offer the state a profitable return on investment.”
Under the ‘workforce development’ section, projects address talent attraction and retention, specifically in terms of educational opportunities, library expansions, and career pathways. The section also includes four housing projects, each unique, as well as a project dedicated to access to quality healthcare and the important role it has in attracting workforce to the region.
The ‘tourism and quality of life’ section narrates a range of projects including aquatic features and community pools, a sports complex, museum expansions and updates, community centers, regional wayfinding, hotel projects to cater to the increase in visitors, and more.
The projects within the ‘entrepreneurship and innovation’ section include diverse projects that present a range of solutions which encourage start-ups and entrepreneurism and attract regional investment.
The Wabash River RDA’s proposal was submitted under a regional umbrella comprising of the Wabash River RDA, Thrive West Central, and West Central 2025. Together, the three regional organizations are dedicated to creating the best region to live, work, and play.
“Our region prepared for this opportunity for some time,” continues Goode. “This proposal was truly a collaborative effort with compiled planning over the last three years. So many leaders in our region came together creating the data, foundation, and projects to create such a transformational vision. This proposal showcases the best of West Central Indiana and energizes us for all the great things to come.”
The IEDC expects to make their decision on which regions will receive funding by the end of the year.