Marshall County Council Signs Onto Population Expansion Effort

The Marshall County Council has decided to give the go ahead for a project that could bring millions to the region.

In conjunction with Michiana Partnership, the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation advised the creation of a Regional Development Authority. The RDA would be formed along with St. Joseph and Elkhart counties in the pursuit of state grant funds.

MCEDC Executive Director Jerry Chavez says the goal of the program is to change the population.

“What creates an area of place so we can attract more capital investment?” says Chavez. “And it would help to stimulate some things, or correct if you will, some things that IEDC feels are very important for the state of Indiana.”

Two $42-million grants are being given to differing RDA’s in the state of Indiana this year. Should Marshall County receive the funds, they would be put to use in the retention and attraction of the area’s population.

The grant is part of the Regional Cities Initiative – which identifies population loss as a threat to economic prosperity. The Marshall County Commissioners gave their support to the measure last week.

Chavez says action is required to get the funds.

“RDA, Regional Development Authority, is part of legislation,” says Chavez. “To be part of that application process, to be considered for the potentially $21-million a year, you have to establish a Regional Development Authority.”

In surveys and working groups conducted over the last several months, quality of life investments were cited as the number one investment that would be made with the grant funds. Infrastructure projects were also included on the list of 18 to 26 projects.

The Marshall County Council, at their meeting Monday morning, gave unanimous approval to an ordinance forming an RDA. Grant applications are due by July 1st.