Indiana Broadband Strategic Partnership

Indiana Farm Bureau formed the Indiana Broadband Strategic Partnership (IBSP) in order to help bring reliable broadband to the most unserved and underserved communities across the state. The Indiana Speed Test was launched to gather data for project planning and as evidence for state and federal grant applications. 

We encourage everyone to promote and participate in the testing as the mapped results will offer the most accurate representation of which areas are being left out of adequate and reliable broadband internet connectivity.

Indiana Speed Test Mapping 

The IBSP partnership will promote the Indiana Speed Test, a crowd-sourced internet speed test created by GEO Partners, LLC, a Minnesota-based company that focuses on cost-effective planning and deployment of broadband.  

GEO Partners will provide real-time internet speed data by collecting speed test information from residents. Displayed on GIS layers, the data pinpoints areas that are most in need of reliable, affordable access to broadband service. Click here to read INFB’s press release. 

Speed Test Goals

The goal for the Indiana Speed Test is to gather data in all areas of the state. The software platform and the data will be available to local governments and organized broadband groups to analyze potential solutions and aid their applications for Indiana’s Next Level Connections Grants and a variety of federal grants. 

About the Test 

Testers will be asked to provide their address so it can record the speed results to the map. No personal identifying information is required and tracking cookies are not used. Location and test results will be stored for the purpose of mapping the results.

Future Benefits

COVID-19 restrictions along with the resulting increase of remote work opportunities has amplified the need for underserved communities to have reliable and affordable broadband access. The resulting grant opportunities could not only improve the quality of life for residents in these areas, but could help encourage growth to these areas as well.

Grow Wabash County Secures $50,000 CARES Act Funding for Program

Grow Wabash County has been awarded $50,000 in EDA CARES Act funding for a program designed to teach small Wabash County businesses skills to improve their e-commerce presence. Our team here at Region 3A will be assisting Grow Wabash County as they implement the program. We are very excited about the opportunities that this program will offer to Wabash area entrepreneurs.

E-Commerce Development Program

Grow Wabash County aims to use the funding to further cultivate the development of small businesses by providing resources for e-commerce strategy. The program will offer a variety of resources in order to teach Wabash business owners how to improve their visibility and presence in the digital landscape. The e-Commerce Development Program will be yet another valuable tool from the organization, designed to help entrepreneurs adapt, grow and maximize their existing operations.

What’s Next for Grow Wabash County’s New Program?

As a result of this grant award, the organization is currently accepting Statements of  Qualification (SOQ) from consulting firms that demonstrate knowledge and a clear aptitude  for developing effective e-commerce strategies. 

Details regarding how and when small, for-profit businesses located in Wabash County will be able to participate in this e-commerce program will be announced in late September.  

Further information on the program and a copy of the RFP can be found on the Build Your Business page.

Grow Wabash County Region 3A

EDA CARES Act Funding 

Region 3A still has funds available to assist other communities with e-commerce programs. Please contact us for additional information. 

About Grow Wabash County  

Grow Wabash County (legal name Wabash County Business Alliance Inc.) is a not-for-profit corporation  that spearheads economic and community development efforts in Wabash County, Indiana. GWC is  designed around five pillars of service – assisting business development needs, promoting livability,  fostering entrepreneurship, supporting workforce development, and offering programming and investor services. GWC was formed with the merger of the EDG of Wabash County and Wabash County Chamber  of Commerce in July 2017. For more information about GWC, please visit 

DOT Funding Opportunity Announcement: Safe Streets and Roads for All

The Department of Transportation has announced the availability of $1 Billion in funding for the Safe Streets and Roads for All Grants (SS4A). The program will award grants for projects which support the National Roadway Safety Strategy local initiatives to prevent death and serious injury on roads and streets. 

The Notice of Funding Opportunity is now open, and applications will be accepted until September 15, 2022.

Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Activities

Applies to those interested in grant funding in order to:

  • Develop or update a comprehensive safety action plan (Action Plan);
  • Conduct planning, design, and development activities in support of an Action Plan; or carry out projects and strategies identified in an Action Plan
  • Have affiliation with an eligible applicant or interested in partnering with an eligible applicant

Available Funding Overview

Eligible Recipients

  • Metropolitan planning organization (MPOs) 
  • Political subdivision of a State
  • Federally recognized Tribal government Multijurisdictional groups comprised of the entities above
  • A unit of government under the authority of State law, including cities, towns, counties, special districts, and similar units of local government.
  • A transit district, authority, or public benefit corporation if it was created under State law, including transit authorities operated by political subdivisions of a State.

We encourage those interested in applying to contact us for assistance. Region 3A will be putting together an application, and we plan to include any projects that our communities see as a good fit for the program. Please reach out to us at for more information.

EPA Increases 2022 Grant Funding for Brownfields Assessments

Brownfields Assessment Grant programs have always been highly competitive due to limited funding. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has significantly increased the amount of grant funding available for 2022, creating more opportunity for projects. There has never been a better time for communities to apply for brownfields project grant funding. There will be a presentation at our board meeting on June 16th with more details on program requirements.

site certified shovel ready

About Brownfields Assessment Grants 

Assessment Grants provide funding for a grant recipient to inventory, characterize, assess, conduct a range of planning activities. Activities may include the development of site-specific clean-up plans, and the organization of community involvement related to brownfield sites. 

There are two main types of Assessment Grants:

  • Community-Wide Assessment Grants 
  • Site-Specific Assessment Grants

Community-wide Assessment Grants

A Community-wide Assessment Grant is appropriate when a specific site is not identified and the applicant plans to spend grant funds on more than one brownfield site in its community.

An applicant may request up to $500,000 to assess sites contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum), and/or petroleum. The performance period for these grants is three years.

Site-Specific Assessment Grants

When a single site is identified and the applicant plans to only spend grant funds on the designated “site,” a Site-Specific Assessment Grant is the appropriate course of action. 

In these instances, an applicant may request up to $200,000 to assess a site contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum), and/or petroleum.

An applicant may seek a waiver of the $200,000 limit and request up to $350,000 for a site contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, and/or petroleum. Waiver requests must be based on the anticipated level of contamination, size, or status of ownership of the site. The performance period for these grants is three years.


For more information on available funding for these programs, visit the EPA Brownfields Assessment Program webpage. As always, Region 3A is available as a resource for questions about the application process.

Region 3A Joins the NIIC Community Navigator Project

Region 3-A is pleased to announce our participation in the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center Inc’s (NIIC’s) “Northeast Indiana Adaptive Community Navigator” project.


The program, established by the American Rescue Plan Act  of 2021, will use a community navigator approach to help small businesses, with a focus on those owned by veterans, women, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals – including in rural and urban  communities. 

The program consists of a lead “Hub” at the center of a  network of “Spoke” organizations that deploy community advocates to work  with small businesses during economic recovery. Recovery services can  include financial assistance, access to capital supports, contracting and  procurement assistance, marketing, operations, and business development, export and importing, and industry specific training, among other areas of  technical assistance to aid businesses in stabilization and expansion. 


Region 3A Development & Regional Planning Commission will in and supporting the in the following ways: 

  • Assistance in initial project planning to ensure that the project optimally addresses the needs of our business constituents, entrepreneurs and our 2020-2024 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.
  • Coordination and integration of a regional support network including LEDOS, EDOs, and trusted connector organizations for early identification and project SPRINT response for businesses facing business closure risks. 
  • Coordinating with the project team for creating a localized delivery channel for distribution of marketing and program-specific communications and outreach to ensure local businesses know what is available through the program.
  • Coordinating with the HUB and project team for delivering local workshops, training, technical assistance, etc. with local trusted connectors region-wide 
  • Ensuring activities are aligned and congruent with our 2020-2024 CEDS plan and future updates of the plan. 

This project is a particularly good fit for this time of crisis in Northeast Indiana and the NIIC’s Adaptive Community Navigator process and toolset for use via Trusted Connectors is a proven way to reach business builders that haven’t been reached before.

The NIIC’s understands the needs of the underserved small business owners in our region, particularly as many of their businesses have been impacted by the pandemic and are now looking to reemerge. In most cases, these needs go far beyond simple quick fixes and money. 

Region 3A is excited to be part of this effort and is now accepting referrals for entrepreneurs and businesses which could benefit from this program. Contact us today for more information on how to get involved!

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Availability of $1.5 Billion in RAISE Grants

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law 

The U.S. Department of Transportation has published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $1.5 billion in grant funding through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program. The program helps communities around the country carry out projects with significant local or regional impact.

RAISE Discretionary Grant Program funds increased by approximately $500 million over last year under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help meet overwhelming demand. 

About RAISE Discretionary Grants

RAISE discretionary grants, which were originally created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as TIGER grants, can be used for a wide variety of projects.

The $1.5 billion in available funding for 2022 represents a 50 percent increase in available funds compared to last year, when applicants requested $10 in funding for every $1 available. In 2021, RAISE funded 90 projects in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.

aerial view of vehicles at stop light

Selection Criteria

RAISE projects are rigorously reviewed and selected based on merit. Projects will be evaluated on statutory criteria of:

  • Safety
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Quality of Life
  • Economic Competitiveness and Opportunity
  • State of Good Repair
  • Partnership 
  • Innovation

Additionally, starting this year under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, 2022 RAISE applications will also be evaluated on the criteria of mobility and community connectivity. The Department will assess projects for universal design and accessibility for travelers, as well as consider how proposals increase mobility for freight and supply chain efficiency.

At least $15 million in funding is guaranteed to go towards projects located in Areas of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged Communities. Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, RAISE expands the number of communities eligible for 100 percent federal share of funding, specifically those in rural communities, Areas of Persistent Poverty and Historically Disadvantaged Communities. To help reach this goal, the Department has launched a tool that will allow applicants to determine if their project location is considered as a Historically Disadvantaged Community. 

As was the case last year, the Department is encouraging applicants to consider how their projects can address climate change, ensure racial equity, and remove barriers to opportunity.

Applications and Economic Development 

This year the Department is also encouraging applicants to consider how their projects can create workforce development opportunities. Applicants can be more competitive in the process if they are creating jobs with free and fair choice to join a union and good labor standards, creating jobs that underserved communities can access, or are supporting worker opportunities and training. Applicants are also encouraged to utilize registered apprenticeship and local and economic hire agreements. 

Also new this year, the evaluation process has been updated for 2022 to provide more explicit detail to applicants.

The NOFO is available here. Region 3A encourages communities to contact us if they would like to pursue funding under this program. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. EST on April 14, 2022, and selections will be announced no later than August 12, 2022.  

S.3011 Act Aims for Flexibility in ARP Funding

American Rescue Plan project funding is a topic of discussion and uncertainty for many communities across the country. Current guidelines have many projects have been put on hold as communities experience delays due to restrictions and questioning qualifications for funding. 

Recently, the Senate has unanimously passed the “State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act” (S. 3011/H.R. 5735). This has now moved to The U.S. House for voting.

Information from the National Association of Counties (NACo) outlines that the Senate-passed legislation can impact America’s counties in three major ways: 

1. Allows increased flexibility for the use of Treasury ARP county dollars, including for eligibility under: 

  • Federal surface transportation infrastructure projects (including non-federal match requirements) 
  • Provision of government services (consistent with Treasury’s rules and guidance for ARP county aid) 
  • HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program 
  • Emergency relief from natural disasters, including negative economic impacts of natural disasters 

2. Modifies eligibility for public lands counties under ARP’s Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund:

  • Clarifies an “eligible revenue share county” is the same as Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT) counties 
  • Redirects $15M (or 1%) from the original $1.5B for public lands “revenue share” counties to U.S. territories 

3. Directs unclaimed Treasury ARP dollars for federal deficit reduction 

  • National Association of Counties | | October 2021 | 3
  • National Association of Counties | | May 2021 

S. 3011: State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility ActFor America’s counties, enactment of S. 3011 would mean:

$27 billion in new infrastructure flexibility for county ARPA Recovery Funds 

$17 billion in flexibility to carry out U.S. Treasury-defined “government services” 

top view of houses during daytime

Eligible Transportation and Infrastructure Projects 

The bill would allow counties to use the greater of $10 million or 30 percent of their ARPA Recovery Fund allocation for a wide variety of transportation infrastructure projects, including:

  • National Significant Freight and Highway Projects 
  • Federal Lands Transportation Program  
  • National Highway Performance Program  
  • Federal Lands Access Program  
  • Bridge Investment Program  
  • RAISE Grant Program  
  • Surface Transportation Block Grant Program  
  • Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) 
  • Metropolitan Transportation Planning  
  • TIFIA Program (including repayment of TIFIA loans) 
  • Highway Safety Improvement Program  
  • Urbanized Area Formula Grants  
  • Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program  
  • Fixed Guideway Capital Investment Grants 
  • Territorial and Puerto Rico Highway Program  
  • Formula Grants for Rural Areas  
  • National Highway Freight Program  
  • State of Good Repair Grants  
  • Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program  
  • Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities  
  • Carbon Reduction Program  
  • National Culvert Removal, Replacement, and Restoration  
  • PROTECT Program  
  • Community Development Block Grant  
  • Alternative Fueling Infrastructure  
  • Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation,  
  • Tribal Transportation Program 
  • Protection, and Construction Program

(Bold indicates flexibility)


The legislation would also allow counties to flexibly invest Recovery Funds into projects that are eligible under the Community Development Block Grant:

As always, Region 3A is here to assist your community with planning projects that can move our area forward. If you would like to learn more about eligible ARP project funding and how it can be paired with other funding sources, contact us today.

OCRA Announces Indiana Connectivity Program

Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) recently announced a new program aiming to help more Hoosiers get access to reliable and quality broadband. The Indiana Connectivity Program will assist qualifying residents and businesses that lack access to broadband internet service with service providers and assist in the expense of extending broadband to those locations. This is an excellent opportunity for underserved residents and businesses in our region to get reliable broadband access.

INDOT study

Program Details

The program applies to residential and business locations that are unserved or underserved. Underserved locations are defined as having access to actual speeds less than 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload. Applications for consideration can be submitted by entering information into the Next Level Connections portal to indicate interest in receiving broadband internet service. 

Internet Service Providers will have the opportunity to review these locations and submit bids to the state on the cost of providing service to these locations. OCRA will evaluate these bids and make awards to the providers whose bid presents the lowest cost to the state for extension of the service. 

Inputting location information into the Next Level Connections portal does not guarantee extension of service. 

business women looking at computer screen

Funding Information

Next Level Connections Broadband Programs have been allocated $270 million in total. The Indiana Connectivity Program is included as part of this larger program. Limits per line extension are set by Indiana Code including a per line extension amount that cannot exceed $25,000 and a per passing amount that cannot exceed $4,800. 


The Indiana Connectivity Program and Next Level Connections online portal will open on Monday Sept. 27, 2021. The bidding and challenge processes must take place before awards can be made. Once made, projects must be completed within 9 months of the contract date. 


Region 3A is proud to be a resource for our area residents and businesses who require reliable internet access. If you need assistance with application or have questions about this program please contact us at

Additional Program Information 

For more information or questions on the Indiana Connectivity Program, please visit or call 833-639-8522. 


EDA Announces “Investing in America’s Communities” $3 Billion in Funding Immediately

Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo recently announced the “Investing in America’s Communities” programs, in which the Economic Development Administration (EDA) will execute to invest the $3 billion it received from The American Rescue Plan. 

The programs include six individual areas to apply for funding. We anticipate that applications for funding will be highly competitive and want to encourage our NE Indiana communities to seek assistance in preparations. Region 3A specializes in helping communities achieve funding for following two program areas.

adult architect blueprint business

Economic Adjustment Assistance Program

EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance Program makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to communities.

The EDA cites this program as their “most flexible” most flexible, as grants made under this program will help hundreds of communities across the nation. Funds can be used to plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.

A wide range of technical, planning, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and public works and infrastructure projects are eligible for funding under this program.

Eligible applicants for EDA’s Economic Adjustment Assistance program include a(n):

  • District Organization of an EDA-designated Economic Development District
  • Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes
  • State, county, city, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions
  • Institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education
  • Public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State

Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation Program

Through the Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program, EDA is focused on accelerating the recovery of communities that rely on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors. $750 million of EDA’s American Rescue Plan funds are allocated to support the following efforts:

Competitive Grants include $240 million in funding dedicated to helping communities that have been hardest hit by challenges facing the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors. These funds can be used to invest in infrastructure, workforce or other projects to support the recovery of the industry and economic resilience of the community in the future.

Competitive Tourism Grants 

Eligible applicants for EDA’s Competitive Tourism Grants program include a(n):

  • District Organization of an EDA-designated Economic Development District
  • Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes
  • State, county, city, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions
  • Institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education
  • Public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State
  • Individuals or for-profit entities are not eligible.

The funding from these programs have the potential to help our community on a large scale. Region 3A is prepared to assist organizations in our area and help to make their grant funding applications highly competitive. For more information on application assistance, contact us today. 

For more information on available funding, visit the American Rescue Plan Programs page on the EDA website. EDA webinars will be held to provide an overview of the American Rescue Plan funding on July 27 and July 29.

Town of Avilla Receives Grant to Complete Industrial Park Expansion

The U.S. Department of Commerce has invested $1.3 Million to support the growth of transportation, distribution, and logistics businesses in Avilla, Indiana. The funds will be used for road, water and sewer infrastructure to complete the expansion of the town’s industrial park.

Grant Funding Impact

The industrial park expansion is expected to create 70 jobs, retain more than 360 jobs and generate $7.8 million in private investment. The EDA project is going to be matched with $1.3 million in local funds which have already been committed to the expansion. The awarded funds will be used for streets, sewer lines and water main installation in the park.

“The Economic Development Administration is pleased to support Avilla as they work to expand regional economic growth and create new jobs,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will provide critical infrastructure for the much-needed expansion of the town’s industrial park to accommodate additional businesses and maintain its competitiveness as a regional hub for transportation, distribution and logistics.” (source: EDA Commerce News)

Drone view of the parking lot by the roundabout

Economic Growth

40 acres have already been allotted in the 80-acre park. Avilla Town Council President Paul Shepherd noted that McLaughlin Furnace Group is currently in operation in the park, and that two other sites have been claimed.

Region 3A had the pleasure of working with the Town of Avilla to secure funding for the industrial park. The expansion will help the town continue to grow, create jobs and attract new businesses to the area. If you’d like to learn more about how Region 3A can help your area leverage their resources and move forward with growth projects, contact us.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration

The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.