West Central Indiana has a laundry list of quality-of-life projects it would like to complete — $300 million worth in fact.

To that end, the region has has submitted to the state of Indiana more than $73 million in shovel-ready requests for the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), which is a $500 million grant program run by the state and funded by a combination of state revenue and federal COVID-19 funds.

The six-county region represented by the Wabash River Development Authority includes Vigo, Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Knox counties.

The Wabash River RDA’s requests include those on behalf of higher education institutions, public schools, libraries, museums, non-profits and public/private projects.

Among those projects are a a $59 million dual-branded Courtyard and Residence Inn in downtown Terre Haute.

Others include a $40 million Sports Center and East Side Aquatic feature, and a $28.5 million Fabrication, Innovation, Technology, and Engineering Center through the Vigo County School Corp.

The Wabash River RDA’s proposal was submitted earlier this month.

The state’s two-year budget put $500 million into READI. It will be distributed by the Indiana Economic Development Corp, which can award up to $50 million per region.

There are 17 regions representing all of Indiana’s 92 counties seeking funds.

“Our application is a compilation of 42 unique projects,” Greg Goode, President of the Wabash River RDA, said in a news release. “Each project is categorized into workforce development, tourism and quality of life and entrepreneurship and innovation.”

‘FITE Center’

One entrepreneurship program in Vigo County includes a $28.5 million FITE (Fabrication, Innovation, Technology, and Engineering) Center that seeks a $5 million READI grant.

The Vigo County School Corp. and supporting entities will provide more than $23.44 million of in-kind and cash contributions to the initial project in order to receive an estimated $5 million match from the READI grant.

It includes a new 45,000-square-foot building, possibly located at the Terre Haute Regional Airport, for laboratory and classroom space said to be ideal for fabrication, innovation, technology, and engineering programs.

The center, which would be operated under the direction of the school corporation, would host day, evening, and weekend classes as well as open labs for high school students, higher education students and the staffs of local companies.

The center would serve as an incubator for evolving research and development needs as workforce needs change, providing high school students with an opportunity to develop and explore entrepreneurial and technical skills.

The center also would provide space for post-secondary and adult education programs and training facilities for local higher education institutions, private companies and public organizations.

Public private projects

For private/public development, there is:

• A $1.6 million ask for an $8 million Sullivan hotel project through Hoosier Hospitality of Sullivan LLC;

• A $10 million ask on a $50 million Indiana 46 Housing project through Watermark Residential (Thompson Thrift) to develop a 232-unit high quality apartment complex north of Interstate 70/Indiana 46. The apartment complex would be 258,612 square feet.

• A $12 million ask that would help a $59.2 million project to add hotels to Terre Haute’s downtown — a dual-branded Courtyard and Residence Inn by Marriott plus a parking garage through Dora Hospitality and Vigo County Capital Improvement Board.

• A $400,000 ask on a $2 million upgrade project for The Mill, an outdoor event venue on the Terre Haute riverfront.

• A $1.32 million ask on a $6.6 million project through private builders for an Essential Worker Village. It would allow students a learning lab where students construct a home, as well as sell those homes. It would be through the Vigo County School Corp., the city of Terre Haute and Homebuilders Association of Greater Terre Haute.

• A $13 million ask on a $40 million project for a sports center and east side aquatic feature through the Vigo County Capital Improvement Board.

That sports center would be a three- phase project. Phase 1 includes building two baseball/softball fields and one main baseball stadium with 3,000 seats, giving a larger venue for the Terre Haute REX baseball team.

Phase 2 is an eastside aquatic center with a lazy river, waterslide, diving pool, public interactive water feature and sunning lawn.

Phase 3 would be an indoor athletic facility.

The project would be funded through the Vigo County Capital Improvement Board, Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city of Terre Haute and Vigo County.

Higher ed requests

Some higher education proposals include:

• Vincennes University with several requests, including a $2.5 million for a $10 million project for the William Henry Harrison Presidential Mansion and Visitors Center.

• Vincennes University also seeks $367,000 toward a $1.1 million Center for Applied Robotics and Animation project, plus $166,000 on a $500,000 Summer STEM Academy and, $100,000 on a $300,000 Design and Innovation Studio.

• Ivy Tech Community College seeks $3.43 million for a $10.3 million Diversity and Career Center.

• Indiana State University seeks $3 million for a $9 million Early Learning Center.

• Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College seeks $4.13 million for a $12.38 million Equine Event Center project.

• Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology seeks $2.67 million on an $8 million Rose-Hulman Ventures Movement project.

Museum requests

Some proposed museum projects include:

• A $1.25 million request on a $5 million Red Skelton Performing Arts Center and Museum;

• Sheldon Swope Art Museum with a $25,000 READI ask on $1 million museum project;

• Terre Haute Children’s Museum $200,000 READI ask on an $800,000 museum outdoor space project;

Cities and towns

In cities and towns in the area, some projects include:

• The city of Sullivan with two requests: a $1.33 million READI ask for a $4 million Sullivan Central Park project and a $1 million ask on a $3 million Sullivan City pool project.

• The city of Terre Haute has several requests, including a $1 million READI ask on a $3 million Deming Park pool project; a $533,000 READI ask on a $1.6 million Fairbanks Park project; a $500,000 READI ask on a $2 million Rea Park project; and a $33,000 READI ask on a $100,000 Gateway Beautification project.

“This proposal was truly a collaborative effort with compiled planning over the last three years,” Goode said in a news release. “So many leaders in our region came together creating the data, foundation, and projects to create such a transformational vision. This proposal showcases the best of West Central Indiana and energizes us for all the great things to come.”

The IEDC is slated to make a decision on which regions will receive funding by the end of the year.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.


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