NWI step closer to millions in federal development grants

2014-04-21T17:00:00Z 2014-04-22T08:14:07Z NWI step closer to millions in federal development grantsBill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com
April 21, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | Northwest Indiana could be in line for millions of dollars in U.S. Commerce Department grants for new development in the area.

Lake County Commissioner Roosevelt Allen announced Monday federal officials have accepted an economic development plan drawn up by a nonprofit organization of public and private area leaders.

"There are more than 30 projects for the various communities in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties," Allen said.

"Purdue University Calumet has applied for a public construction grant of $2.5 million for expansion of its innovation center," Allen said.

He said those and other projects had been on hold because the area hadn't created a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, a document ensuring local grant applications meet U.S. Commerce Department federal standards.

The Northwest Indiana Forum and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission have formed an independent nonprofit corporation called the Northwest Indiana Economic Development District to create the strategy. Allen is president of the district.

Representatives of BP, Ivy Tech Community College and the building trades as well as elected public officials make up the executive board pushing the process.

Don Koliboski, director of economic development at the Northwest Indiana Forum, a private group made up of some of the region's largest employers, said they now need a resolution of support from Porter County officials and Gov. Mike Pence's signature to permit the three Northwest Indiana counties to achieve economic district status and hire a grant writer to cut through the federal bureaucracy and get money flowing.

Koliboski said that could make several million dollars of water and sewer infrastructure available for Gary's University Park health life science center in an area between IUN and Ivy Tech.

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