Region III-A: 50 years as a NE Indiana EDD!

What is an EDD and how can your community benefit?  

Region III-A Economic Development District and Regional Planning Commission was formed in 1974, making the agency 50 years old this year! Region III-A is one of nine economic development districts (EDDs) in Indiana.  

At times, we find that it is not exactly clear what an EDD is or how they differ from other development organizations or grant writing services. As part of our 50 year anniversary, we revisit the basics of an EDD and recount some Region III-A history in this post. 

What is an Economic Development District?

EDDs are quasi-governmental, multi-jurisdictional entities that are typically comprised of multiple counties and the cities and towns within them. Each EDD has its own geographic service area; EDD service areas cannot overlap. The intent is to facilitate a locally based, regionally driven, economic development planning process that utilizes the involvement of all stakeholders within the district. The EDD serves as the unbiased creator of an economic development roadmap known and a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for regional economic development.The CEDS provides a written coordinating mechanism for all stakeholders to engage in meaningful conversation and debate about the economic direction of their region. The EDD facilitates and owns this process. 

How Are Economic Development Districts Designated by EDA?

Becoming an approved EDD is not an easy quest and requires complying with several requirements and following a detailed process, final approval of which falls to the Federal EDA. To request EDD designation, an applicant must have an EDA-approved CEDS and at least one geographical area within the designated service boundaries that meets EDA’s regional distress criteria as set out in 13 CFR § 301.3(a). EDDs are designed to represent multi-county areas so entities that request designation should be able to serve and represent the entire geographic area of the proposed region and not just a small representation of such. The requirements set out in 13 CFR parts 303 and 304 must be met and all necessary documentation provided.

Once the appropriate documents are compiled, they must be paired with a summary that is developed by a regional office of the requested designation, including the name of the organization requesting the designation, and rationale for the regional office’s recommendation and include this in the EDD designation package. The summary must be completed based on a thorough review of the designation request. 

Benefits of an EDD:

While there are agencies that can provide certain services for specific types of projects, your EDD is the most appropriate lead for comprehensive planning and funding coordination services. 

– Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)

– Eligible for funding from the Economic Development Administration (EDA)

– Collaboration among several municipalities and agencies

– Existing relationships with multiple state and federal agencies

– Technical Assistance and Resources

History of Region III-A Economic Development District and Regional Planning Commission

Region III-A was formed in 1974, 50 years ago, by founding members Steuben, Lagrange, Noble and Whitley Counties. Eleven years later, in 1985, Huntington County was added with Wabash County following years later in 2010. In those 50 years we have provided technical assistance on countless projects and have helped secure tens of millions of dollars in funding for our communities. As our communities and funding opportunities have grown, so has our staff and valuable experience.

We look forward to continuous education, value add and prosperity for the six counties and thirty two incorporated cities and towns in the region.

Larwill Receives Water Infrastructure Planning Grant

Region 3A assists Town in receiving one of only 7 Federal Grants Statewide

Region 3A’s client, the Town of Larwill, received a Christmas present in the form of a water infrastructure planning grant. On December 21st, 2023 the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch announced that Larwill is one of only 7 Indiana Communities to be awarded Federal dollars through this program. Larwill is one of only two Indiana communities to receive the water infrastructure planning disbursement. 

Larwill is well situated on US 30 between the orthopedic business center of Warsaw and the City of Fort Wayne, making it an ideal location for supporting businesses and residential growth. In 2021 an Economic Development Allocation area was designated on the north and west sides of Larwill.   However, water and wastewater infrastructure have been limiting factors in the revitalization and development of the town.

Region 3A helped Larwill apply for and obtain this funding to complete a comprehensive study of the town’s infrastructure and options for the future.  The town has hired an engineering firm to assess their existing wastewater infrastructure, which is currently a more than 30 year old collection system that connects to the Town of Pierceton.  The engineers will also provide up to 3 options for the provision of potable water service to the town as the town is currently only serviced by individual well systems. The study will also assess the town’s stormwater systems for deficiencies. 

We are very pleased with this award and the progress that this step can facilitate. If you would like to know more about current programs and grant options for your community, please contact Matt Brinkman at (260) 347-4714 or

City of Kendallville and Huntington County Receive OCRA Recovery Housing Grants

Region III-A members represent 2 of the 4 Indiana Recipients of Federal Funding for Transitional Housing Programs.

Most of our projects are directly related to building economically thriving communities for people to live, work and grow. Others are about considering all members of the community – transformed lives, transform communities. We are honored to have been integral to the allocation of recovery housing program funding in two communities that are closely connected participants of Region III-A. These projects will provide safe and stable transitional housing to people recovering from substance use addictions, giving them a real chance at starting anew and integrating into the community. A total of four Indiana communities will receive some  of the total $2.9M in funding.

Huntington County, on behalf of Place of Grace, was awarded $750,000. The RHP funding will allow Place of Grace to develop a certified Level 2 Recovery Residence on a vacant 1.3-acre lot located in the city of Huntington. The new residence will be made up of five complete apartments with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, laundry and dining/living areas. Each apartment can house up to four family members. This project will provide much-needed housing for women recovering from substance use disorders and provide the stability and quality of care needed for sustainable, long-term recovery to fully assimilate back into the community. The total project cost is $770,000, with subrecipient Place of Grace providing a local match of $20,000.

Addiction Housing Cycle

The City of Kendallville, on behalf of Inspiration Ministries, Inc., was awarded $750,000. The RHP funding will allow Inspiration Ministries, Inc. to develop one National Alliance for Recovery Residences Level 2 Certified Recovery Home in Kendallville. The project includes renovating the second and third floors of a building on Main Street. The new transitional recovery facility will be owned and operated by Inspiration Ministries to provide a total of 13 NARR-certified beds for alumni who have successfully completed their Inspiration Recovery Program. This project will provide housing for those recovering from substance use disorders and provide stability and care for community members on the road to recovery. The total project cost is $1,459,209 and Inspiration Ministries, Inc. is providing $699,208.50 as a local match. In addition, the City of Kendallville is providing a $10,000 local match from the city’s National Opioid Settlement Fund.

The Federal Recovery Housing Program was a special allocation granted directly to 25 states and the District of Columbia in an effort to provide transitional housing for individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder. The State of Indiana, through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs distributes program funding to communities to create stable and transitional housing for individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder. 

If you would like to know more about current programs and grant options for your community, please contact Matt Brinkman at (260) 347-4714 or

What is a Capital Stack?  How can Capital Stacking help Municipalities Finance Projects?

Large municipal projects often only consider bonding alone or grants and cash as funding sources. While these methods are tried and true, new ways to fund projects are available to innovative municipalities. Today, municipal governments and districts have more options than ever in funding options.  

Instead of trying to find one large source of funds, municipalities can use multiple sources of funding to create a “capital stack” by combining different types of funds, grants, and debt to pay for a project. With state and federal governments issuing billions of dollars in grant funding every year and private financing options growing in popularity, municipal project leaders have huge flexibility in tailoring a capital stack to each project. Each financing mechanism has its benefits and drawbacks – the capital stack approach can create more flexibility, responsiveness and enable utilization of the benefits of each. 

For example, a water project may earn a state grant that matches 50% of the estimated cost. The municipality could then issue bonds for 25% of the cost, then seek a public-private partnership to utilize private lending for the remaining 25%. 

Sometimes, this capital stack approach makes the difference between a project moving forward or not

Approaching projects with a layered, or “stacked”, financing approach allows municipalities to decrease reliance on large grants while still funding projects in a cost effective manner. Region 3A is ready to help you access grant funding and work with our partners to secure other sources of financing.

Participation opportunity: Regional Application for the U.S. DOT EV Charging Station Grant

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has made $700mm of grant dollars available to state and municipal entities to fund the construction of new alternative energy charging stations for vehicles powered by electricity, propane, and hydrogen. Region 3A is ready to help individual counties, towns, and cities apply for this new grant through a regional application for multiple communities.  We would like to pursue a regional application due to the minimum project size requirements and because many of the communities that we serve could benefit from this program.  

The program, part of the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program (CFI Program), will give half its funding to Community Charging and Fueling Program Grants (CFP) and half to Alternative Fuel Corridor Grants (FCG). CFP grants will focus on charging stations near residential developments, businesses, parks, and similar areas. They have a $500,000.00 minimum award amount, $15mm maximum award amount, and require a 20% local match. 

FCG grants focus on building alternative energy vehicle charging infrastructure near areas already designated “alternative fuel corridors” by the Department of Energy. FCG grants will cover facilities that serve light, medium, and heavy vehicles. They have no maximum award amount and a $1mm minimum. 

Region 3-A to apply for federal funds bringing more EV stations to NE Indiana Communities

Region 3A sees this as an opportunity for northeast Indiana to bolster its already strong passenger and commercial travel arteries. Even if Hoosier businesses and citizens don’t widely adopt alternative energy vehicles, having robust charging infrastructure will encourage vehicles moving interstate to continue traveling, delivering, and spending in Indiana. 

If you want to learn more about this program and/or participate in the regional application, please contact Matt Brinkman at or (260) 402-8834.

Region 3A Assists in Securing Grants for Lifesaving Roadway Projects

Ten Indiana communities have received funding through the federal Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grant to complete new roadway projects aimed at eliminating dangerous intersections and roads. With grant-writing assistance from Region 3A, Huntington County was awarded $200,000. Per the USDOT, the funds will be used “to develop a comprehensive safety action plan.” Neighboring Whitley County also secured $60,000 in funds through SS4A. In the state of Indiana, all SS4A funding went to safety action plan development. For more information, check out this article from the Journal Gazette: Federal grants will help communities make roads safer

Map of awards
Map of awards

Region 3A is proud to empower lifesaving programs through successful grant writing. We work with Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash and Whitley counties to streamline the process of securing state and federal funding, bringing the expertise necessary to ensure maximum awards. 

For serious traffic engineering projects that depend on state or federal funding, successful grant awards can mean life or death for motorists. Huntington had 26 traffic-related fatalities between 2016 and 2020, according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The county’s average annual fatality rate per capita is 14. On Valentine’s Day of this year, two drivers were seriously injured in a crash on US-24 in Roanoke. A comprehensive plan and new roadway projects will make crashes like this less likely. With the help of Region 3A, Huntington County is evolving into a safer county. We hope this is just the beginning. 

2/14 crash in Roanoke
2/14 crash in Roanoke
2/14 crash in Roanoke
2/14 crash in Roanoke