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Another incredible opportunity for the Indiana Uplands has launched! The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has allocated $30 million in READI 2.0 funding to the Indiana Uplands. Through this program, IEDC aims to accelerate the State’s economic growth by supporting regions and building on the successes of past programs such as READI 1.0, Regional Cities, and the 21st Century Talent Initiative.

Regions across Indiana will have the opportunity to support projects that address at least one of IEDC’s key performance indicators, which include:

  • Population growth
  • Per capita income growth
  • Increase in employment opportunities
  • Educational attainment
  • Number of housing units developed
  • Increase in childcare capacity
  • Increase in innovation activities

Eligible READI 2.0 projects are limited to capital projects or infrastructure improvements.

Capital projects include, but are not limited to:

  • construction or rehabilitation of new or existing facilities,
  • acquisition of tangible personal property or equipment with a useful life of at least one (1) year and used for a particular purpose aligned with the owner’s business or governmental purpose;
  • land acquisition;
  • other expenses directly related to items (i) – (iii), including professional services, installation costs, debt or lease payments, permitting fees, developer and property management fees, legal expenses, or other project costs approved by the IEDC.

Infrastructure projects may be publicly or privately owned and include water, wastewater/sewer, utilities such as electricity, gas, and broadband, roads and sidewalks, and parking garages.

Eligible redevelopment projects must involve the redevelopment or rehabilitation of vacant, deteriorating, underutilized or blighted properties that have a demonstrated impact on the valuation of the subject asset and surrounding property values (“Blighted Properties”). Blight can also be identified by a local ordinance that designates an area as blighted or in need of redevelopment. Vacant should be defined as 1) uninhabited residential single-family properties that have been vacant for a year or more, or 2) commercial buildings in which at least 50% of the building is vacant for more than one year or at least 75% vacant and poses a significant opportunity for redevelopment. The IEDC will remain flexible if communities can create a compelling case as to certain properties being considered blight or vacant. 

Please review IEDC’s Policy Requirements to learn more about what may be eligible for READI funding.

READI 2.0 in the Indiana Uplands

As with READI 1.0, Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) will serve as the regional intermediary for READI 2.0 in the Indiana Uplands. For this round, ten Uplands counties are participating. The $30 million allocation awarded to the Indiana Uplands was based on goals and strategies developed in collaboration with regional stakeholders through listening sessions in every county, consultation with regional employers and community leaders, regional studies, and strategic planning. In preparation for upcoming meetings with IEDC, ROI is inviting regional stakeholders to submit information on potential projects that may align with READI 2.0 priorities.

READI projects funded in the Indiana Uplands should align with one or more of the region’s goals detailed below. Please click on the [▶] to expand each goal to see specific strategies.

Goal 1: Leverage advanced technologies to position the Indiana Uplands for economic opportunity and continued growth across its key employment sectors: advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and national security and defense.

Strategy 1a. Invest in infrastructure and facilities to support attraction and growth in high technology areas of opportunity that will further develop the region’s high-wage sectors, including, but not limited to, microelectronics, hypersonics, biomedical, electrification of vehicles, and emerging technologies like carbon capture, utilization, and storage.

Strategy 1b. Establish the Indiana Uplands as a national center for microelectronics research, testing, and development, leveraging the region’s history of leadership in DoD microelectronics to create a highly aligned ecosystem that gains national prominence in areas including radiation-hardened microelectronics and advanced packaging.

Strategy 1c. Support research and development, innovation, and competitiveness through unique facilities and infrastructure that advance existing and emerging technologies in the Uplands.       

Strategy 1d. Expand and develop talent and quality of place strategies that support the talent development, retention, and attraction requirements of local employers in advanced technologies clusters.

Goal 2: Develop and enhance quality of place assets to support economic opportunity and growth.

Strategy 2a. Invest in housing projects aligned with high-growth sector employers, fostering talent retention and attraction. Encourage multi-family, missing middle, and small lot single-family developments. Focus on expanding infrastructure to facilitate housing growth, ensuring sustainable development that activates future housing endeavors.

Strategy 2b. Support projects that bolster quality early learning through increased access to high-quality programs. Focus on capacity-building efforts, including infrastructure development for early care and education programs.

Strategy 2c. Facilitate improvements to transportation infrastructure to enhance the mobility of persons and freight through improvements in regional airports and corridor connectivity. Foster initiatives that contribute to the development of infrastructure amenities.

Strategy 2d. Foster downtown improvements that nurture small businesses and create downtown housing. Promote blight elimination programs to create safer communities, facilitate property redevelopment, and return properties to the tax rolls. Develop community gathering spaces and create amenities that will attract new residents and tourists to the region.

Strategy 2e. Improve access to healthcare, both physical and through telehealth options. Invest in healthcare and recreation facilities to promote a healthy lifestyle to support a thriving and resilient workforce.

Goal 3: Grow the Uplands talent pipeline through K-12 and postsecondary programming, as well as implement targeted talent attraction and retention strategies.

Strategy 3a. Implement or expand education and workforce initiatives through the development of a robust PK–16 STEM ecosystem.

Strategy 3b. Grow postsecondary projects to align with employment opportunities in the region’s high-growth sectors.

Strategy 3c. Develop sector-specific training facilities to meet the needs of high-wage employers.

Strategy 3d. Advance talent attraction and marketing initiatives to grow population and workforce. (Match only)

Goal 4: Increase economic vitality across the Uplands through a focus on the region’s unique cultural, artistic, physical, and livability assets.

Strategy 4a. Grow the livability of cities and towns to be more attractive to a diverse population as defined by age, race, and ethnicity. Create vibrant community arts and celebrations by investing in new and existing community gathering spaces and buildings that can be leveraged for creative entrepreneurship activities and/or events, cultural, and festival offerings.

Strategy 4b. Attract and retain the creative class and the businesses that employ them, including visual/performing and literary arts, filmmaking, architecture, graphic design, and marketing.

Strategy 4c. Develop a high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystem through the continued deployment of high-speed broadband. Provide access to creative tools and the knowledge needed to innovate and foster entrepreneurial connections.

Strategy 4d. Convene a regional arts and cultural task force and conduct a landscape assessment of existing cultural, creative, and physical assets that have the potential to grow community vitality, talent attraction, retention, and new visitors to the region.

Arts & Culture READI Projects

The Lilly Endowment has awarded a $250 million grant to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to help bolster quality of place efforts throughout the state. IEDC will allocate $65 million of those funds to support an arts and culture Initiative. (Note: In addition to capital projects, arts programming is eligible if funded by the READI 2.0 LEI Art and Redevelopment Initiative.)This initiative aims to unleash regional creative transformation through capacity building for the arts, investment in public art, and the development of cultural amenities accessible to the community. Funding can support both capital and programmatic costs for these grants.

Eligible projects and programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Public art, including murals, sculptures, installations, programmable lighting on key assets, or other artistic community improvements
  • Development of museums, performing arts venues, art centers, art studio complexes, or other culturally significant attractions or facilities (including improvements to existing facilities)
  • Art and cultural competitions or festivals, provided the applicant demonstrates long-term funding commitments to sustain any such effort
  • Initiatives to attract nationally and internationally recognized arts and cultural performances to Indiana
  • Initiatives to support the further development of a region’s creatives and creative economy
  • Development of visual architectural design elements that are unique to local communities

Please review IEDC’s READI 2.0 Redevelopment and Arts Initiative information before proceeding to ensure that your project aligns with the State’s policies.

Eligibility Checklist

This checklist is a tool to determine if your project is eligible for READI 2.0 funding. In order to have a successful READI 2.0 application, you will need to meet all of the eligibility requirements listed below. For additional guidance, you can also access the READI FAQs. Please contact Maren Harris at maren@regionalopportunityinc.org with any additional questions you may have.

  1. The project is a capital or infrastructure project.
  2. Only Arts & Culture activities funded through the READI 2.0 LEI Art and Redevelopment Initiative may have programmatic components.
  3. The project will be catalytic.
  4. The project addresses one or more of the State’s READI 2.0 Key Performance Indicators.
  5. The project will meet a goal and strategy in the Indiana Uplands READI 2.0 plan.
  6. The project has community support.
  7. Match funding of 1:1 public and 3:1 private has been secured.
  8. The project will commence construction by July 1, 2026.
  9. My organization can comply with the State’s procurement procedures.

Submissions due May 17, 2024!

If you would like to review the questions before continuing to the portal, download the READI 2.0 Project Inquiry Form and the Arts and Culture Inquiry Form.