FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Today, the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University released phase one of a study that examines the impact of the Regional Cities Initiative. The Metro Chamber Alliance is pleased to have initiated this study, which shows clearly that investments in quality of place are paying dividends.
Currently underway across the Northeast, North Central and Southwest regions are 64 projects totaling more than $1.2 billion in investment, $835.5 million of which is private-sector investment. The state has committed $122 million to these projects to date, of which $54.7 million would be returned to the state in the first three years through increased tax revenue, according to the study. In addition, the investment is expected to lead to 7,960 new Indiana residents over the next eight years.
“The impact of the Regional Cities Initiative is evident in the progress and momentum occurring in all three regions,” said Eric Doden, CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. “We are creating the conditions to attract talent and capital to build our community into a nationally recognized economy.”
“We have seen the Regional Cities initiative as a proven motivator for communities to come together and act regionally,” said Jeff Rea, president and CEO of the South Bend Regional Chamber. “This opportunity to leverage private investment and accelerate vital projects has a significant impact in growing jobs, wages, and community pride.”
The Regional Cities Initiative is designed to support talent attraction and retention by focusing on creating better places in which to live, work, play, and visit. Therefore, the study also examined the effect of this investment on population changes. Over the next eight years, this investment is expected to account for 7,960 new Indiana residents, above and beyond current population growth projections.
“Southwest Indiana is on a roll with unprecedented levels of new investment,” said Tim Hayden, interim CEO of the Southwest Indiana Chamber. “The Regional Cities Initiative allows us to accelerate our progress toward becoming not just a major center for medical research and education, but also a population center.”
“The state’s focus on quality of place is having an extraordinary impact in southern Indiana,” said Wendy Dant Chesser, CEO of One Southern Indiana. “Though our region did not participate in the first round of the Regional Cities Initiative, witnessing the energy in other regions has motivated us to begin working collaboratively to formulate plans to leverage our assets within the Louisville metro area to become a magnet for talent.”
Taken together, the initial net state investment of $72 million and the 7,960 new Indiana residents produce a metric of $9,045 per new resident.
“This figure is consistent with historical measures for job-creation incentives at the state level, but produces something even more valuable in new residents,” said Michael Hicks, director, Center for Business and Economic Research. “While this study shows positive initial results for this one-time influx of state investment, sustaining the existing momentum and expanding it statewide will require further contributions by state government.”
Phase two of this study will be completed in 2018 and will examine the qualitative effects of the Regional Cities Initiative.
The study can be accessed at http://bsu.edu/cber/publications.
About the Regional Cities Initiative
Through the leadership of then-Governor Pence and the Indiana General Assembly, the Regional Cities Initiative was created in 2015. Three regions (North Central, Northeast, and Southwest) were each awarded a $42 million grant by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to accelerate the implementation of their regional development plans.
About the Metro Chamber Alliance
The Metro Chamber Alliance is a partnership among the largest chamber organizations across Indiana, including: Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Indy Chamber, OneZone, Northwest Indiana Forum, One Southern Indiana, South Bend Regional Chamber, and Southwest Indiana Chamber. The Alliance was established to share knowledge, best practices, and to support efforts and policies that benefit each organization and the entire state.
About Ball State University
Founded in 1918 and located in Muncie, Ball State is one of Indiana’s signature universities and an economic driver for the state. The university’s 2017-18 enrollment – 22,513 – is the largest in school history and its freshman class of 4,002 is just three students shy of a school record. Every Indiana county is represented among Ball State’s student body, as are all 50 states and 68 countries. Ball State’s 731-acre campus is large enough to accommodate premier facilities and 19 NCAA Division I sports, but small enough to ensure the friendliness, personal attention and access that are the hallmarks of the university, where 90 percent of classes are taught by faculty. Ball State had its smallest tuition increase in 41 years for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.