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

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!

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.