Think of it as “Shark Tank” for our regional economy. Last month, a group of Central Indiana leaders including Indy Chamber CEO Michael Huber took the stage at the Indianapolis Museum of Art to pitch our best ideas for attracting more people and fast-growing employers to Indy.
Huber and the rest of our team weren’t making their case to Mark Cuban and his fellow prime-time investors, but a panel of business and civic leaders appointed to review proposals for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s new Regional Cities initiative.
Regional Cities is an $84 million competitive grant program for metro partnerships around Indiana with ambitious plans to reverse the state’s decline in working-age population. Central Indiana’s agenda is being measured against other regions, with funding decisions to be announced in mid-December.
Regional Cities investments would deliver a major boost to important projects like the Red Line rapid transit route, the 16 Tech downtown innovation district, and expanding our trail and bike network.
The Chamber was a key backer of the Regional Cities legislation earlier this year, as we see Central Indiana falling behind other large U.S. metro areas – our competition for talent and economic opportunity.
But as the IEDC weighs the options, some have argued that Central Indiana has enough momentum without Regional Cities support. In this week’s IBJ, Huber makes the case for Indy as a statewide catalyst for growth:
As Indiana’s largest region, Central Indiana has unique potential to counter the state’s downward trajectory in population and raise the standard of living for Hoosiers statewide. Investments here generate higher returns and touch more lives – an advantage, not a disqualification.
By connecting workers to jobs, fueling a more innovative economy and developing welcoming, livable communities, our Regional Cities agenda confronts today’s challenges and capitalizes on tomorrow’s opportunities. We’re organized to move forward, but state funds would help us go faster – and every day we stand still, we’re falling further behind. (Check out the full column here – “Viewpoint: Indy Region needs Regional Cities lift”)
Whether you support more regional transit options, like to bike to work or use trails like the Monon, or want more high-paying tech and life sciences jobs lifting Indy’s economy, these plans will make a difference.
Central Indiana’s Regional Cities Agenda – read our plan.
Read the latest on the Red Line rapid transit corridor, the 16 Tech development, and how quality of life assets like trails and bikeways make a big economic impact.
Share this post and add your support to Central Indiana’s Regional Cities priorities using #INRegionalCities.