$42 million Regional Cities grant awarded to South Bend-Elkhart, Fort Wayne and Evansville

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

Expect more development to happen in Michiana in the coming years, as St. Joseph, Elkhart and Marshall counties are expected to receive a $42 million grant to fund 39 projects in the area.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation voted Tuesday, Dec. 15, to award Regional Cities grants to areas centered around South Bend, Fort Wayne and Evansville.

The office of Gov. Mike Pence announced the grant program’s review committee recommended three winners instead of two because a tax amnesty period that’s funding the program has collected nearly $50 million above projections.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced the region’s win at a watch party at the Union Station Technology Center in South Bend.

“I’m thrilled. This is the sort of thing that makes a mayor smile. It’s good news for all of us,” Buttigieg said. “This was this whole community pulling together. We worked across county lines, across city limits, across party lines and it looks like now we’ve got a terrific amount of funding to show for it.”

The complete proposal for all three counties calls for more than $700 million in investment from both private and public sources.

The additional funding will need approval by the General Assembly during its next session, which begins next month.

Seven regional bids from around the state were submitted in recent months. The committee narrowed the field to three finalists in November.

Pence said the grant program was intended to encourage metro regions to work together more, which Buttigieg said was beneficial for both South Bend and the region.

“This represents the future of economic development, which is us recognizing that a win for Elkhart is a win for South Bend. A win for Marshall County is a win for St. Joe County and this whole region is going to be lifted up together,” Buttigieg said.

The grants are intended to pay for infrastructure or amenities that could help attract businesses and people.

Brian Slodysko with the Associated Press contributed to this report.