The three-city proposal is the only region in the state to receive approval for a planning grant and only one of 10 in the nation that will be competing for a $20 million grant, Budd said.
“We have a pretty good chance at this,” he said.
In a letter attached to the application, Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith said the city will use $50,000 from its food and beverage fund to pay for its portion of the matching grant funds. Muncie plans to use funding from its economic development income tax and New Castle is pooling funds from tax increment financing districts and $20,000 in staff time.
The planning process for the strategic plan is scheduled to be completed within nine months and will begin on Nov. 11. Applications from consulting firms or planning services are being accepted by the East Central Indiana Regional Planning District.
“Hopefully it’s successful,” said Rob Sparks, executive director of the Corporation for Economic Development of Madison County. “Anytime you can regionally collaborate it makes everyone stronger.
“Regionalism is a big component of our ability to grow and be strong in the future.”
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Strength and assets In their U.S. Economic Development Administration grant application, Madison, Delaware and Henry counties say they have a combined region with: ◆ A workforce skilled in manufacturing innovation ◆ A student population of more than 33,000 ◆ Historic downtown riverfonts ◆ Affordable housing ◆ Nearby lakes and state parks