INDIANAPOLIS – The regional economic development plan created by the Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority and its supporting regional partners and allies won the top award for economic development planning in the state from the Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association.
The plan, titled “Our Region | Our Plan,” revolves around how to better the five-county region — Clark, Floyd, Jefferson, Scott and Washington counties — and identifies ways the region can grow together. The regional plan is a suite of documents complementing one another — one regional plan, one SoIN RDA organizational work plan, and five county-specific work plans. The goal topics also include a series of targets/objectives that are achievable over time.
The plan identified roles and responsibilities for the So-IN RDA and its supporting regional partners and allies and is a clearinghouse for 47 projects that address regional needs or provide economic impact to any of the region’s 22 incorporated cities and towns or both. The top four projects, which the Our SoIN RDA will take lead on, are:
• Regional Broadband — Ensure that Southern Indiana retains its competitive edge and provides for residential amenities by improving regional high-speed broadband infrastructure and services in urban, suburban and rural areas.
• Regional Collaboration — To allow for the exchange of ideas and creative solutions to Southern Indiana’s challenges and to provide a more effective forum for discussing regional projects, facilitate the creation of a regional leadership roundtable, and together, advocate for regional initiatives at the state and local level.
• Regional Marketing and Branding Plan — Recognize the region’s talent pool, improve both capital and business attraction efforts while also increasing tourism in the region by creating a regional marketing and branding plan.
• Regional Trail Initiative — Leverage the existing Ohio River Greenway, the Madison Connector Trail systems and the future CSX Rails to Trails corridor (New Albany to Bedford) to identify feasible routes and action steps for implementation of a regional trail system that connects assets of the entire region.
The plan is the result of more than nine months of engaging hundreds of residents and stakeholders from all corners of the five counties that make up the region. Targeted efforts were made to ensure that each county and municipality had an equal opportunity to provide input in the process and all were considered in the final priorities and project lists.
“We are very excited the incredible effort put forth to create this one-of-a-kind plan is being recognized statewide by the APA-IN,” said Dana Huber, chair of the Our SoIN RDA. “We would like to thank the organizations supporting the RDA board’s work, making the creation of the plan possible.
“One Southern Indiana, the River Hills Economic Development District & Regional Planning Commission, American Structurepoint, Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group, Policy Analytics, Frost Brown Todd and Applegate Fifer Pulliam are invaluable to keeping regional priorities in the forefront. We also appreciate the support and encouragement of the five counties – both councils and commissions — which established this RDA in 2017.”
John Schellenberger, Floyd County commissioner, said he, like all the elected officials in the five counties, is pleased the plan won the award.
“A lot of input was gathered so the plan could be inclusive of the top priorities of all five counties,” Schellenberger said. “All parties involved in this great achievement are to be congratulated on their hard work and effort put into its compilation.”
APA Indiana is the state affiliate of the American Planning Association, the professional organization for planners across the country.