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Regional Cities Initiative

About the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative

Spearheaded by Governor Mike Pence, the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative sets a framework for neighboring communities across the state to work together to develop regional visions that are supported by compelling development plans focused on quality of place. With seven regions representing 70 percent of the state’s population submitting strategic plans, the initiative is helping each region develop positive and unique national brands, transforming them into global destinations for talent.

As a financial partner, the state has selected North Central, Northeast and Southwest Indiana to receive $42 million each in a funding match for their bold development plans.  These plans outline 100 quality of place projects totaling more than $2 billion in investments.

Population Stagnation is Threatening Indiana's Growth

Healthy, vibrant communities require dynamic and growing populations. People are free to choose where they live, and do so based on many factors. Together, the interactions within a community among people, places and things determine its quality of place and vibrancy. Concentrating efforts on continuously improving quality of place, while maintaining traditional economic development efforts, is a proven formula for creating talent magnets. 

However, like many of its Midwestern neighbors, Indiana remains a net out-migration state. Over the last decade, 80% of Indiana’s population growth (6M to 6.4M) is attributable to the birth rate outpacing the death rate. Talented people continue to move to Southern and Western states, which claimed 84% of the nation’s population growth through the past decade.

Now is the time to build on our economic foundation to create a quality of place that attracts and retains future generations of Hoosiers.

Timeline of Events

March 2014
House Bill 1035 signed into to law, which called for the Peer Cities Report.

Summer/Fall 2014

IEDC executives and consultant studied benchmark cities and produced the Peer Cities Report.

October 2014

IEDC held forums across the state to present and discuss findings of the Peer Cities Report.

April 2015
House Bill 1403 enacted with $84 million appropriation, allowing Indiana to be a financial partner with regions.

July 2015
IEDC Board appointed the Strategic Review Committee to evaluate and recommend regional plans for funding. 

August-September 2015
Regions hosted site visits for Regional Cities Initiative leadership.

August 31, 2015
Seven regions submitted plans, which outline more than 420 quality of place projects and nearly $3.8 billion in total investment.

September-November 2015
The Strategic Review Committee held several public meetings to review and discuss all seven regional development plans, which included formal presentations from the regions in October. Both the plans and the presentations are available online.

December 2015
Strategic Review Committee presented its recommendations, which are as follows:

  • Subject to approvals, award full funding to three regional plans - North Central, Northeast and Southwest - at $42 million each.
  • Continue to support regional plans of the four regions - Central, East Central, Northwest, West Central - that participated in the first phase of the initiative.
  • Seek necessary approvals to allocate 2015 Tax Amnesty revenues beyond $90 million to be utilized under the Regional Cities Initiative. 

The recommendations, which are outlined in the committee's full report here, were approved by the IEDC Board of Directors.

March 2016
HB1001 signed into law, which allocates an additional $42 million from the 2015 Tax Amnesty program to support full state match funding of three regions - North Central, Northeast and Southwest.