Auditorium renovation

The Community Learning Center in Kendallville will use its renovated auditorium not only as a performance venue but a classroom where students would learn how to operate the equipment.

The Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) voted Feb. 11 to give Regional Cities Initiative funding for these projects in northeast Indiana:

• Community Learning Center project in Kendallville in Noble County, for $183,000 of the total project cost of over $1.05 million. The project is a collaborate effort to redevelop the former East Noble Middle School building into a space where area nonprofits and organizations can work together in a building and collaborate with one another. It wants to use the money for its auditorium and reception room renovation work.

• Hanna Nuttman Park Revitalization project in Decatur in Adams County, for $50,000 of the total project cost of over $3.61 million to create two clusters of three ball fields each.

• CASS Housing project in Fort Wayne in Allen County, for $200,000 of the total project cost of $1.1 million for demolition of current homes and construction for its Customizable, Affordable, Sustainable, and Safe living arrangements for individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities.

• Enterprise Center Phase 2 in Angola in Steuben County for $100,000 of the total project cost of $668,260 for building a 6,000-square-foot co-working space.

Previously, the Northeast Indiana RDA board awarded $42 million in state money to groups in the 11-county region to make transformative projects to help get the number of residents up to 1 million. In January, it heard pitches from nine groups, including the announced recipients, for some or all of $250,000 it had left over from a combination of lower construction costs and additional fundraising from previously approved projects as well as interest earned. The total eventually rose to $533,000 being available to invest.

“All nine projects were impressive, and it was a difficult decision for the board,” Gene Donaghy, president of the Northeast Indiana RDA board, said in a news release. “However, we selected these four projects for Regional Cities Initiative funding because they have great potential for the transformative impact on their community and our 11-county region. These four projects align with our Regional Cities Initiative goals for talent attraction and building national brand identity and Northeast Indiana’s Road to One Million plan.”

Craig Snow, vice president of the Northeast Indiana RDA board, said in the announcement that the board remains hopeful that it could continue to support the projects that have already been submitted to the RDA if other funding becomes available. Those are a plan for animal sculptures built from recycled materials along a walking path, money for the pre-development phase for workplace housing, the Dupont Road Trail Project, Manchester University’s athletic stadium and a downtown Fort Wayne grocery.

Snow said in the news release, “While we are not accepting new proposals at this time, if there was more money to be found through a project or projects being under budget or returning interest, we could maybe make additional awards. We continue to look for other sources of funding, as well.”

Now that the Northeast Indiana RDA board has recommended Regional Cities Initiative funding for the four projects, the application goes to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) for final approval before funding disbursement.

To date, the projects funded by Northeast Indiana RDA board have generated over $264 million of total public-private investment in 28 quality-of-place projects.

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