For The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and Greater Fort Wayne Inc., progress is all about collaboration. While the two organizations have been working together for years to make northeast Indiana and Fort Wayne better places to live, the organizations are presently focusing intense efforts on the Regional Cities Initiative.
The Regional Cities Initiative is a public-private partnership proposed and led by Governor Mike Pence with support from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). The goal of the Regional Cities Initiative is to make this state a magnet for talent by creating a national identity for Indiana cities. Regions are competing for up to $42 million in state matching funds by submitting proposals with a slate of game-changing, quality of life projects (amenities and attractions that will attract and retain young talent).
With a portfolio of $1.4 billion of investment and about 70 projects from across the 11-county region, the proposal draws from hundreds of existing community plans, focus groups in each county, interviews with stakeholders, walking tours and planned private sector investments. The full portfolio features Phase 1 Projects (years 1 and 2); longer term projects (years 3-8 implementation); and ideas for projects beyond the state’s initial 8-year timeframe.
The Regional Cities application highlights many quality of life improvement projects around northeast Indiana, and one such project in the region’s long-term plan is riverfront development in downtown Fort Wayne.
Riverfront Fort Wayne is an initiative that envisions a revitalized downtown riverfront area that is a regional destination offering opportunities to experience nature, recreation, shopping, dining and entertainment in a whole new way.
The Riverfront Fort Wayne action plan was developed through a process that included extensive community input. The resulting vision of the riverfront plan offers something for everyone, from natural wetlands that allow you to reconnect with nature, to an activity park that encourages people of any age to play, to a promenade that welcomes you to stroll and enjoy shopping and dining along the river.
But Riverfront Fort Wayne is just one piece of the tenacious Regional Cities application. The application, submitted by the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority, represents Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties.
In Wabash, the renovation of the Charlie Creek Inn, Eagles Theatre, Rock City Lofts and the Honeywell Center all add to the quality of life assets, making for an exciting and spirited downtown.
But while northeast Indiana’s application to the state has been submitted, the work is hardly over.
In northeast Indiana, “good” is not good enough. We share a vision of resisting Midwest trends and breaking new ground—a vision of becoming a region of one million people by developing the quality of life needed to attract top talent and expand our business landscape. We have the vision, the plan and the courageous leaders needed to transform potential into progress. We are on “The Road to One Million.”
With the Regional Cities Initiative proposal, we are advancing a portfolio of regional projects that will transform and define our community over the next few years and for decades thereafter.
Northeast Indiana knows who it is. It’s a community that doesn’t just plan for what may be; we act on what should be and have built momentum and a reputation as a place to get things done. We are investing in our community and we are ready for a bigger, bolder future for northeast Indiana.