EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- There’s $500 million on the table, and economic leaders in southwest Indiana are looking to get a cut of the action.

Evansville Regional Economic Partnership (E-REP) CEO Tara Barney says downtown Evansville has been on a good path for several years, but they would like to strengthen the city’s position as a regional leader.

To that end, E-REP is proposing a plan to revamp the Evansville riverfront and other spots in southwest Indiana, including a brand new “River Center” that would feature rental spaces and thousands of square feet worth of retail space near Dress Plaza. They’re hoping the statewide READI program will help them out with at least $50 million.

E-REP has pitched the plan as the “front porch” for the region and they’re asking for $50 million to get the project started. E-REP President Greg Wathen says they’re looking to build “buckets of opportunity” both for housing and quality of life throughout southwest Indiana. Wathen adds it’s not just about downtown Evansville, but rather areas in Warrick, Posey, and Gibson counties as well.

Wathen also says the proposed I-69 Ohio River Crossing will be crucial for the project, something he calls the “secret sauce” for success. Barney says the project is a large undertaking that requires “a lot of money and a lot of projects,” but one that is necessary for region

The organization is expected to meet with READI officials later this month.