ROI announces launch of $3.5 million community grant program

Ready Communities grants to enhance quality of place and workforce attraction strategies in the 11 counties of the Indiana Uplands

As a part of this overarching strategy, Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) is rolling out the Ready Communities Initiative, which will offer grant funding opportunities across the 11 counties of the Indiana Uplands.

The Ready Communities Initiative will provide counties and communities the resources necessary to strategically plan for, develop, and implement projects and programs that build quality of place, grow regional capacity for workforce development and attraction, and improve the attributes and amenities that make the Indiana Uplands a desirable place to live, work and play.

“For our communities and our region to thrive, we must create high-value quality of life assets and amenities,” said CEO Tina Peterson. “We want to ensure that our children, families, and employers have every reason to stay in the Indiana Uplands. By investing in quality of place, we will enhance the live, work, play environment for the benefit of all.

The process will begin with Ready Communities Planning Grants. Each Indiana Uplands county is eligible for a $50,000 planning grant to develop a Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction Plan.

Following the Ready Communities Planning Grant stage, up to $3 million in implementation grants will be available in 2019-2020 to eligible organizations for projects or programs within or across counties that have successfully completed Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction Plans.

Funding categories for Ready Communities Implementation Grants will include Aesthetics and Beautification Enhancements, Connectivity Infrastructure Development, and/or Community Cohesion & Support initiatives. Some examples of the types of projects or programs that may be eligible for grant funding include:

  • Aesthetics and Beautification Enhancements: place branding, public art, streetscape beautification, park enhancements, and main street type investments
  • Connectivity Infrastructure Development: bike & pedestrian paths, trail enhancements, walkability improvements, public broadband or wi-fi, and public transit or other transportation needs
  • Community Cohesion & Support: childcare facilities, workforce training centers, public spaces, innovation spaces, and farmers markets

Interested county representatives met on October 3 in Paoli, IN to learn more about the grant program and to begin developing strategies for bringing individuals, organizations, and entities together around a planning grant proposal.

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“Orange County is very excited about the partnership with ROI,” said Misty Weisensteiner, Executive Director of the Orange County Economic Development Partnership (OCEDP). “This opportunity will position the county to develop a placemaking plan for the first time. The timing could not be any more perfect. The Ready Communities Grant program falls directly in line with the new strategic plan of the OCEDP. We are optimistic that the grant opportunities that will be made available for our communities will increase the quality of life for residents, enhance the visitor experience, and be a more attractive place to live for people seeking a new location to be employed and call home.”

“The Ready Communities Grant program is a great opportunity for the 11-county region,” added Ron Arnold, Executive Director of the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation. “It is a ground-up approach, which is much different from many grants that are top down. This grant program will allow each county to evaluate what project or projects will best serve their county’s needs. I greatly appreciate the opportunity for Daviess County to be involved.”

Counties may submit applications for the Ready Communities Planning Grant as early as November 1, 2018. The final deadline for counties to apply for planning grants is December 31, 2018.

Counties awarded Ready Communities Planning Grants will then have until December 31, 2019, to develop their Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction Plans. Grant proposals for Ready Communities Implementation Grants will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning in March 2019.

More information about Ready Communities Planning and Implementation Grant is available at


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