From the release of our new video (above) to our first Return on Investment Report, it was a busy 2012 for the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. Here’s a quick look back at our top stories and achievements.
A happy and prosperous New Year to all!
During the next session of the Indiana General Assembly, the Regional Development Authority will be making the case to legislators in Indianapolis that state support of the RDA, now scheduled to sunset after 2015, should be extended. The State of Indiana currently contributes $10 million in Major Moves funding annually to the RDA, which is matched by $17.5 million in yearly local contributions from Lake and Porter counties, and the cities of Gary, Hammond and East Chicago.
As a result, the RDA has invested or committed to investing approximately $210 million to date in Northwest Indiana, with real and tangible results. This investment has resulted in more than $1.1 billion in economic activity and created or supported more than 2,000 jobs.
As the RDA makes its case, we are grateful for the backing of numerous organizations in Northwest Indiana that are rising in support of continued RDA funding. Among these is the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, which on Wednesday issued a public statement that continuing the funding of the RDA would be one of its top legislative priorities in the upcoming session. Chamber Board President Jon Schmaltz noted that the has provided $30 million for projects in Porter County alone, and future funding “can be used for projects we can’t even imagine.”
In addition to the Valpo Chamber, the Board of Directors of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority (SSCVA) has passed a resolution calling on the legislature to extend funding of the RDA, based on its record of job creation and economic development. That resolution, for which we thank them, can be viewed here.
Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority
Meeting Minutes of November 20, 2012
I. Call to Order: The RDA Board meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. CST on Tuesday, November 20, 2012, with Chairman Leigh Morris presiding.
II. Roll Call: Present: Chairman Leigh Morris, Harley Snyder, Lou Martinez, Bill Joiner, Ed Glover, and Peter Novak. Six members were present constituting a quorum.
BP’s recent investment at the refinery has also been the catalyst for positive change across our community. Not only has the project employed tens of thousands of region workers over the past several years, but it has stimulated an amazing amount of new commercial, recreational and residential investment in our community.
Together with a strong local redevelopment strategy and vision, the doors have been opening for opportunities to grow and improve our community outside of the refinery walls.
Besides our partnership with BP, Whiting has been blessed to be the recipient of a $19 million RDA grant to improve our lakeshore. Receiving this grant was a game-changing event that is allowing us to develop a major attraction to attract people to our fine city.
When coupled with the benefits of the BP investment, a perfect storm of positive events has been created in Whiting.
The RDA funds, along with a local match and several additional grants, will lead to an overall investment of over $50 million to enhance our Lake Michigan shoreline. Much of the project is already complete, but work is expected to continue into 2014.
Joel Baldin, senior associate with Hitchcock Design Group (Chicago) surprised attendees at last night’s Marquette Park Pavilion grand opening with the news that the Pavilion had been named the Historic Restoration Project of the Year by Masonry Construction Online. He also spoke about jobs created by the project and additional elements that were incorporated after the restoration came in under budget. The restoration was part of the RDA’s $28 million Marquette Park East project, on which Hitchcock served as project manager and landscape architect.
The Post-Tribune takes a look at the RDA’s plans for the future.
The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority has big plans for the region but will need to secure funding of up to $10 million annually to plant the seeds for those plans.
During a state Budget Committee hearing, RDA President Bill Hanna tried to illustrate the value developed from the authority since it was formed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2005. With an annual budget of $27.5 million, it received $10 million a year for 10 years from the state, drawing revenue from a 2006 lease of the Indiana Toll Road. The rest of its budget comes from local contributions.
Read the rest here.