The Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) has issued a call for projects for communities and non-profits to participate in the Regional Economic Acceleration + Development Initiative (READI) program. The RDA approved the Call For Projects Submission form and the Project Scorecard at their most recent meeting on June 9th. Communities and non-profits are being asked to collaborate with others to submit projects that will have a regional impact.
The READI program was created in the state’s biennial budget during this year’s legislative session and signed into law by Governor Holcomb. The budget allocated $500 million directly to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to implement and oversee the program. According to the READI information on the IEDC website, the program was created because, “Indiana and its regional communities have an opportunity to accelerate economic resilience and growth and become magnets for the talent Hoosier businesses need to thrive. By developing a collaborative, long-term plan for growth, regional communities throughout the state will have a game plan to invest in their future growth and prosperity, deliberately and thoughtfully.”
Since the legislation was first announced in February, the RDA has been working with community leadership within the region to monitor the legislation and garner support for an RDA application. Upon passage of the legislation, the IEDC has worked with regions around the state to produce guidelines and answer questions regarding the READI program. Currently, the IEDC is looking for regions to collaborate and apply for the available funding. The maximum funding that a region may receive is $50 million.
The READI application is a two-step process. The first step is for the RDA to submit an online form that notifies the IEDC that they are planning to submit an application and provides details regarding the geographical region of the applicant. This step has already been completed. The second step is for the RDA to submit a Regional Development Plan (RDP) on or before August 31, 2021. According to the READI information on the IEDC website, “A regional development plan should outline the region’s vision for its future and articulate the strategies and projects in which it plans to invest to achieve that vision.”
The RDA is made up of five counties in southern Indiana: Clark, Floyd, Jefferson, Scott, and Washington. The RDA Board of Directors consists of 5 members appointed by County Commissioners of the five counties. Chair Dana Huber, stated, “The RDA is asking for communities to think outside of the box, be bold, when developing their projects and working on their application. We also want to see project collaboration both inside and outside of the RDA region.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity for our region to receive a much-needed economic catalyst,” she continued. “To receive project funding of this magnitude we must work together and submit the best regional development plan as possible.” Huber and the other four members of the RDA board: Ken Rush of Floyd County, Kevin Kellems of Jefferson County, Steve Meyer of Scott County, and John Jones of Washington County will be reviewing the applications and intend to include a project list within the submitted Regional Development Plan on August 31.
The Call for Project Submission Form, located on the RDA’s website (https://oursoinrda.org), and ancillary materials are due July 20 at 5:00 pm. “We know this is a short timeline for our communities,” Huber admitted, “but this will ensure that the RDA board members have time to review and grade all submissions based on the published score card. This also allows for us to follow up with submissions to ensure we fully understand the projects.”
The RDA board members are encouraging all communities and non-profits to submit projects. Huber did mention, “submitted projects should emphasize on their regional impact and sustainability.”
The Call for Projects is officially open and available to all communities and non-profits within and surrounding the RDA. The submission forms are due by July 20 at 5:00pm (EST). After the RDA board members have had time to review the submissions, they will select a list of projects to include into the Regional Development Plan. Public support of the plan, along with endorsements and approvals, will be solicited during August before being submitted to the IEDC.
Once a region submits their Regional Development Plan, it may be requested to present to a selection committee in the fall. The current timeline states that if awarded, the RDA will receive notice in December.
For Media Inquiries:
Wendy Dant Chesser, RDA Facilitator