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Understanding the importance of the Regional Cities designation


In recent months, people from across our community and elsewhere in Northeast Indiana have worked together to develop a compelling proposal for Regional Cities designation, which is a program launched this year by the State of Indiana that offers our region an opportunity to contend for significant funding and recognition – a matchup we are well positioned for in Northeast Indiana.

The Regional Cities Initiative seeks to expand the focus of our economic development efforts to including building a quality of place with amenities such as welcoming downtowns, outdoor activities, and other civic infrastructure that attracts and retains future generations of Hoosiers. Regional Cities is offered in response to a growing recognition that places such as Austin, Nashville, and Raleigh/Durham have made bold moves to transform their communities and in so doing have achieved national prominence as magnets for talent. 

In our case, community leaders have already been working with their peers across Northeast Indiana for nearly ten years, so Regional Cities is not a starting point so much as a shot in the arm to accelerate our region’s growth and progress. We are putting our best foot forward to build a vision and action plan that will transform our region as a place that people move to, rather than a place people elsewhere are from.

What does this initiative mean for our community? We already have a number of exciting efforts underway such as Columbia City’s new aquatics facility or expanded trail systems that could be advanced by Regional Cities designation. Regional Cities is about putting Northeast Indiana on the map. It is about building a national reputation for Fort Wayne and its surrounding communities. I encourage you to find out more about the Regional Cities Initiative by visiting www.neindiana.com/regionalcities or contacting the Jon Myers, Whitley County Economic Development Corporation.

September McConnell,
Executive Director
Whitley County Community Foundation, Inc.


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