Indiana’s Great Southwest Named Regional Cities Winner

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mayor Winnecke speaking for Indiana's Great Southwest

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke

Southwest Indiana selected as one of three regional cities winning $42 million for funding talent attraction projects.  

Evansville, Ind. – The State of Indiana announced today that Southwest Indiana (Indiana’s Great Southwest), Northeast and North Central Indiana have been selected as the three regional cities designees and awarding each up to $42 million in matching funds to help drive and retain talent, pending legislative approval. The announcement was made at Ivy Tech Community College’s Corporate College and Culinary Center in Indianapolis.

“Southwest Indiana is a true illustration of regional collaboration and the goal of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative,” said Governor Mike Pence. “Local officials, business executives and university leaders have embraced the idea and have come together to craft the future of the region. Building outward from a strong core in Evansville, Southwest Indiana radiates with exciting opportunities and plans to develop dynamic communities to live, work and play. Looking back, future generations will see Indiana’s bicentennial as a time when Hoosiers came together to create a better tomorrow, and Southwest Indiana is at the forefront.”

The Regional Cities Initiative was crafted and championed by Governor Mike Pence to combat Indiana’s stagnation in population growth and to stimulate talent attraction to the state. In August, seven regions submitted plans containing over 420 projects totaling $3.78 billion dedicated for the purpose of growing Indiana’s workforce by making it a more attractive place in which to live, work and prosper.

“We are grateful to Governor Pence and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation for the honor of being named a regional city designee,” said Beth McFadin Higgins, President of the Southwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA), the group charged with managing the Regional Cities process. “Southwest Indiana has tremendous momentum and it’s great to have those efforts recognized.” The RDA was formed as a legislative condition of the Regional Cities initiative and passed unanimously by Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh and Warrick counties as a sign of regional cooperation.

“The future of Evansville and Southwest Indiana could not be brighter as we embark upon a Regional Cities plan that will completely change the dynamics of our area,” said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “Our proposal lays out a vision for the next generation of development as we morph into an urban-living laboratory for consumer electronics, housing and medical research that will attract new talent and create a new path for strategic economic growth. Now, it’s time to roll-up our sleeves and get to work.”

Commissioned by the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, the comprehensive plan was authored by Lochmueller Group, Garner Economics and VPS Architecture; and, contains a total of 19 projects that will strengthen the region’s economic core with strategically focused projects within the region, which total $926.3 million in combined public and private investments.

“The Regional Cities initiative is bold as it connects economies within the state to build a stronger and better Indiana,” said Bob Jones, President & CEO of Old National Bank. “Southwest Indiana clearly demonstrates a great return on the State’s investment and the economic landscape will be proof of that in the next five years.”

“Southwest Indiana’s strong economy coupled with the diverse collaborative efforts in crafting the Regional Cities strategy helped distinguish our region as a top candidate for the initiative,” stated Greg Wathen, President & CEO of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana. “Since 2006, the Coalition’s job has been to promote and market the region; now, with the state’s help Indiana’s Great Southwest will truly become the new frontier for talent & business.”

View the entire plan and presentation.

About the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana

The Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana acts as the marketing arm for Indiana’s Great Southwest, the brand for the regional economic development and community development organization for Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh, and Warrick Counties in Southwest Indiana. The Coalition works with its local county economic development organization partners to facilitate attraction and business retention activities along with supporting efforts to enhance the business climate through regional capacity building.    Since its formation in late 2006, the Coalition has helped to secure nearly $3 billion in new investment and 3,568 new jobs from existing and new companies such as Haier America, Berry Plastics, Mead Johnson, Toyota Boshoku, Midwest Fertilizer Corporation and AT&T.

Another important aspect of the Coalition’s multi-faceted job description is helping the communities it serves build new capacity for future development in its role as a regional planning organization. The Coalition has helped secure more than $73 million in grants for key quality of place infrastructure such as expansion of water and sewer systems; building new community centers; and, making improvements to the region’s levee system, which protects thousands of acres along America’s inland waterways.