READI 2.0 proposals submitted to state


The South Central Indiana Talent Region has developed a regional development plan to strengthen technology, economic growth and community resilience by addressing important community development priorities and implementing innovative strategies and projects.

A funding proposal recently was submitted by the region — which includes Jackson, Jennings and Bartholomew counties and the town of Edinburgh — through the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative, or READI.

During the initiative’s second round, branded “READI 2.0,” 15 regions throughout the state representing 92 counties will receive a total of $500 million in financing, in addition to an extra $250 million in grant funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. It is anticipated local, public and private funds will be matched at least four to one for the second round of investment.

Although state financing was intended for READI 1.0, the majority of the money ultimately came from federal American Rescue Plan funds, which had certain restrictions, said Jackson County Chamber director Dan Robison.

The region received $30 million dollars in the initiative’s first round in 2022. This year, the region has requested $75 million — the maximum — in funding.

Dan Davis, president of the Jackson County Community Foundation, said the Jackson County prospective project list submitted to state officials includes a variety of ideas, including housing projects in Brownstown and Seymour; an expansion of the Vincennes University maintenance training program at the Jackson County Learning Center; construction of new grandstands at the Jackson County Fairgrounds; renovation of existing buildings for use as a co-working/business incubator site and a family resource/community welcome center; a potential blight elimination hotel project at Interstate 65 and Tipton Street; and infrastructure and utility extensions to support employer sites on Seymour’s east side.

Davis also said there will be a time for additional ideas to be submitted before projects are selected around mid-April to be pitched for approval by the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Prior uses of READI funds include the Jackson County Learning Center’s class expansion (which had a total budget of $1.84 million, of which $480,000 came from READI funds); Schneck Medical Center’s renovation of a third-floor in-patient nursing unit, which was funded by a $1,040,001 READI grant; and North Vernon, which hadn’t seen significant residential development in more than 30 years, using a $3.1 million READI grant to develop the Heritage Estates subdivision.

This year, the South Central Indiana Talent Agency’s primary areas of focus are on innovation and entrepreneurship, education and workforce development, housing and quality of place.

No posts to display