Southern Indiana receives project ideas for development initiative

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EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT)– Evansville Regional Economic Partnership (E-REP) has now received upwards of 100 ideas for potential regional projects that could be made possible through state funding. The Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) is dedicating $500 million in state funding for regional projects which will attract investments and economic growth. Vanderburgh County Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave hopes to see the renovation of Veterans Memorial Coliseum on E-REP’s list of approved projects being presented in Indianapolis.

“This is a really important local building and it’s a historical treasure there’s no doubt about it,” said Musgrave. The Veterans Memorial Coliseum has been a part of Evansville since 1916. Since then, it’s hosted countless events. “So many found memories that people have.”

The Veterans Memorial Coliseum is now owned by the county, but rented by a veteran’s organization which is hoping to see it revived and widely used.

“They are calling this area of the town NoCo for north of Court Street. They want to make a whole neighborhood a whole community out of it and the coliseum sits right at the entrance of that,” said Musgrave. This is why she submitted an application to the E-REP in hopes of getting one million dollars from the state’s READI program to put towards a $5 million renovation to make needed improvements. “And then we have county money that could go into it, cvb money, but also the remaining value of the veterans’ lease.”

Musgrave says she’s looking for other private sector investments. Through Indiana’s READI program, the state is looking for projects to be about 80% privately funded before awarding regions as much as $50 million to promote economic growth.

“It’s competitive,” E-REP’s co-CEO Greg Wathen says he’s expecting to receive 120 applications for regional development projects, including Musgrave’s.

“There’s no way that you can fund all 100 plus projects so basically you have to go through the process and say what is the criteria, does it meet the criteria, and if it doesn’t, then maybe there’s another program out there that can assist someone,” said Wathen

The Regional Development Authority will make the final decision on what regional projects can be presented in Indianapolis. There will be about 18 other regions also vying for nearly $50 million of state funds. Southern Indiana’s final proposal will be submitted by the end of August.

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