Region kicks off Road to One Million initiative

More than 1,000 people were at the Grand Wayne Center Thursday for the Road to One Million celebration.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) More than a thousand people came together Thursday night to kick off the region’s Road to One Million initiative.

“A lot of people told us we would never be celebrating this $42 million and here we are tonight,” President and CEO of Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership said.

The region was award $42 million from the state as part of the Regional Cities Initiative. That money will be matched by private and local funds, for a grand total of more than $80 million. That money will be used on projects focusing on quality of life with the goal of attracting more people.

“Our goal is to reach 1 million residents by the year 2031 and the reason we want to do that is because best practice communities are growing at three times the rate as our community is growing and we want to make sure we can be economically competitive nationally,” VP of Marketing for Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership Courtney Tritch said.

“The number one thing is attracting that population growth and talent, we’ve got to do that together so our Road to One Million plan helps us put together our best foot in terms of how we’re going to attract new talent and population to the region,” Sampson said.

There are more than 70 projects outlined in the plan. At the Road to One Million celebration the short-term projects that will take about two years were highlighted.

“There are 38 projects over $400 million worth of investment,” Tritch said. “We’re displaying all the different projects tonight and people can say what their favorite ones are.”

Now it’s time to get to work.

“We have to find the right projects in our Road to One Million plan and help the project owners to get those projects ready and take those projects to our Regional Develop Authority for a request for approval on their funding,” Sampson said.

In the next 60 days the Regional Development Authority, which allocates funds, will become fully operational and the application process for project owners should be up and running.

To learn more about the Road to One Million economic development plan click here.

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