Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority Recommends Funding For Fort Wayne Regional Trails Project

The Board of the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) met today to consider a request for Regional Cities Initiative funding for a project submitted by the City of Fort Wayne and Fort Wayne Trails.
The Board voted to support the Fort Wayne Regional Trails project with a grant of $1,773,671, which represents 20 percent of the $9.5 million of the project’s total cost.

The trails proposed in the project’s plan would extend from: • Lower Huntington Road along Bluffton Road through Waynedale to Foster Park; • Washington Center Road to Wallen Road;
• Fernhill Avenue to State Boulevard; and
• The Fernhill-State trail to Franke Park and the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

The Board’s recommendation now goes to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) for review and final approval to receive funding.

“Trails provide an opportunity to engage residents with creative quality of life offerings while connecting communities and regional downtowns. By supporting the development of 8 miles of new trails in Fort Wayne, we are able to link four counties and provide opportunities for further development on the Road to One Million,” said vice chairman of the Northeast Indiana RDA Bob Marshall, executive vice president of Campbell & Fetter Bank.

The board also heard presentations from three other groups including:

1. South Adams Trails in Adams County, which requested a $498,000 grant, which represents 16 percent of the $3.6 million of the project’s total cost;

2. The Enterprise Center in Steuben County, which requested a $323,000 grant, which represents 17 percent of the $1.9 million of the project’s total cost; and

3. United Brethren (UB) Block in Huntington County, which requested a $1.6 million grant, which represents 20 percent of the $8 million of the project’s total cost.

In addition to the approval of funding, the RDA also reported on the progress of the following Road to One Million projects, which are either approved or under review by the RDA or the IEDC: • Great Lakes Capital for the Skyline Tower;
• Trine University;
• University of Saint Francis;
• Embassy Theatre;
• The DeKalb County YMCA;
• Little River Trail’;
• Manchester Early Learning Center;
• North Buffalo Street Redevelopment Project; and
• Fort Wayne Regional Trails.

The RDA is responsible for disbursement of the $42 million in funding granted to the region through the Regional Cities Initiative established last year. The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, which helped lead the effort to secure the Regional Cities Initiative funding, also provides staffing support to the RDA.

As of November 2016, the Northeast Indiana RDA has recommended $108 million in funding to the IEDC, which includes $65 million in private investment in the region.

“Private funding is a critical piece of the Road to One Million plan and our goal to grow the regional population to one million people. With more than 60 percent of our project dollars from private funders, the RDA’s funding represents only 12.6 percent of the total funding dollars. This milestone demonstrates that the private sector fully engaged in growing Northeast Indiana and we are taking calculated risk to realize progress and seize opportunities for the region,” said Michael Galbraith, director of the Road to One Million at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

The purpose of the Regional Cities Initiative funding is to attract and retain talent by providing financial support for game-changing quality of place projects that will increase economic growth, lead to population growth, and enhance the region’s national brand identity. Northeast Indiana won the Regional Cities grant last year with its Road to One Million Plan that outlines more than 70 projects and $1.5 billion in investment over the next 10 years.

To learn more about the Northeast Indiana RDA, visit the new website at www.neindiana.com/rda.