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Economic Development Group Targets Rural Indiana

An organization in Southern Indiana has created a fund that would bypass the state when it comes to handing out money for regional economic development.

French Lick Resort & Casino

Photo: Serge Melki (Flickr)

The French Lick Resort & Casino is the sole contributor to Radius Indiana's regional impact fund.

Money for economic development is normally filtered down from the state or federal level.  But not anymore in some parts of the state.

Radius Indiana is a regional collaboration created to support businesses in eight Southern Indiana counties. At the group’s annual meeting president R.J. Reynolds announced the creation of a regional impact fund to distribute money and help businesses find additional grants.

“We will be the first point of contact, if you will, for regional impact funds that are generated through gate receipts from the resort here in French Lick,” Reynolds says.

So businesses will now have a separate fund they can apply to for assistance instead of competing with companies around Indiana for state-level grants.

Reynolds says a panel will review development proposals and decide which projects receive assistance. Daviess County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Ron Arnold says the panelists will be more in touch with the needs of regional business owners.

“We’re dealing with folks that understand the challenges in a rural community,” Arnold says. “Sometimes that gets lost in the translation when you’re dealing with some of the folks from larger cities.”

The French Lick resort is the sole contributor to the fund, but Radius Indiana board members say they hope to see more businesses contribute in the future.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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