EVANSVILE, Ind (WEHT) Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch spoke to the Evansville Rotary Club Tuesday at Tropicana Evansville. She touched on several topics including the recently concluded legislative session, funding for I-69, and the Regional Development Initiative.
Indiana leaders are aiming to sway workers to relocate to the Hoosier state. A big focus is improving quality of life so people are more inclined to move. Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch brought that message back to her hometown of Evansville where she discussed the state’s game plan to accelerate the state’s growth.
As revenue in Indiana rebounds, the state was left with an additional $2 billion of funding. $1.9 billion of the extra money is going towards Indiana schools to ensure all teachers are getting paid at least $40,000 a year. There is also a $500 million Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) available for certain Indiana regions. This builds off the 2016 Regional Cities Initiative.
The READI grant will allow cities, towns, and counties to partner on projects. The state is divvying up $500 million dollar grant among 10 regions to fund their plans.
“Can you imagine when we have that kind of a $500 million investment going on all over the state of Indiana, that in turn can draw up to 10 billion dollars of private and local money. Indiana will be exploding with infrastructure, and with capital projects that will make it transformational.”
Lieutenant Governor Crouch says the Tri-State got a taste of this type of growth around 2016 when Southwest Indiana received $42 million as a Regional Cities Initiative winner.
“It was Warrick, Gibson, Posey, and Vanderburgh counties that all benefitted from that grant and so the same thing would happen this time,” Lieutenant Governor Crouch explained the projects brought in $900 million. Some projects include the Post house luxury apartments in Evansville, renovating a terminal at the airport, upgrades to Friedman park in Warrick County, and beyond.
“It made such a big impact locally,” said Princeton Mayor Greg Wright Gibson County. “We were able to take advantage of it with out Oakland City University, the dorm program that it had going there, and locally we are looking at some quality of life things that we have going like our YMCA.”
Quality of life projects are a big focus so people are willing to move to the area, filling vacant jobs.
“We’ve got 1,400 new workers that are going to be locating hopefully in our community,” Mayor Wright said he’s hoping Southwest Indiana receives up to $50 million of READI grant funding as his community brings in new people through the Toyota expansion.
All project proposals for READI grant funding will have to be finalized by September.