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The RDA's enabling statute outlines four priority areas: expansion of the Gary Chicago International Airport, creation of an integrated (bus and rail) surface transportation network, redevelopment of the Lake Michigan Shoreline and economic development initiatives to attract business and jobs to the region. From 2005 to 2010 the RDA focused primarily on the first three priorities. However, beginning in 2011 the RDA Board determined that the Regional Development Authority should expand its economic development efforts. The first phase of this expansion was the establishment of a deal closing fund to be used in conjunction with Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) efforts in Northwest Indiana.
Capital projects related to the Gary Chicago International Airport, bus and rail transportation, and shoreline redevelopment remain welcome. However, the RDA Board has determined that top priority will be given to job-creating economic development proposals. Requests for donations or charitable contributions may be meritorious, but due to the RDA's limited funding the Board feels that the priorities set by the General Assembly must take precedence. The RDA does offer a Regional Challenge grant program offering up to $200,000 in matching funds for smaller projects. The RDA allocates up to $1 million annually for the Regional Challenge Fund to assist units of local government in Lake and Porter County in leveraging funding from the private sector and/or public entities for public initiatives or projects of regional significance. Each grant has a $200,000 maximum. For more information download our Regional Challenge Fund policy here.
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