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.

2021 Opportunities for Northeast Indiana Community Planning

The start of a new year means that many communities are examining and prioritizing areas for improvement and expansion. While further information on COVID-19 related programs and funding is largely pending at this time, we would like to remind communities of the ongoing opportunities available and how we can assist.

Economic Development Administration

Grants are available for projects related to infrastructure or workforce development that lead to job creation.

  • Brownfields – Rehabilitation of a site where there are environmental concerns.
  • Shovel Ready – Assistance in obtaining a shovel ready designation on an industrial site.
  • EDA – Technical assistance with projects related to public works, economic adjustment,   and planning.
  • Tax Abatements – We can complete all required paperwork for a designating body.

Office of Community and Rural Affairs 

 Their current grant funding opportunities include projects related to wastewater, drinking water, and stormwater. Also, there are funding opportunities available for certain types of planning activities. We must be able to show a residential benefit to have a competitive grant application.

  • Wastewater/Drinking Water Program – Up to $700,000 available to improve a community’s wastewater or drinking water infrastructure.
  • Storm Water Improvement Program – Up to $600,000 to improve a storm water system.
  • Public Facilities Program – Up to $500,000 available for a project that benefits the community. Projects we have done under this program include community centers, fire stations, libraries, and council on aging facilities. (Temporarily suspended) 
  • Main Street Revitalization Program – Up to $600,000 available to improve a downtown area. Approved activities include streetscapes, façade improvements, and downtown infrastructure. Must be part of an Indiana Main Street organization to qualify. (Temporarily suspended)
  • Blight Clearance Program – Up to $500,000 available to rehabilitate deteriorated or abandoned downtown buildings, or vacant or unusable industrial sites. (Temporarily suspended)
  • Planning Grants – Funding that allows for a planning study to take place on any infrastructure projects. Comprehensive plans are also permitted.
  • COVID-19 Response Grants – Up to $250,000 available to address issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transportation 

Region 3-A can assist with traffic counts, road reclassification, accident studies, and traffic impact studies. We can also provide technical assistance with grant applications for Community Crossings funding.

  • Community Crossing Application Preparation – Preparation and staff trained in PASER. Small communities have only a 25% match requirement.
  • FA3-FA4 Grant Application Preparation – Preparation for submittal by local employees in responsible in charge (ERC).
  • Road Reclassification Application – Traffic counts and submittal, prerequisite for some FA3-FA4 applications. 
  • Traffic Counts – Functional Class, Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) railroad safety.
  • Accident Studies – Review accident data and review for possible roadway remediation. 
  • Traffic Impact Reports – Analyze and report on new business impact on existing roadways.
  • Member Road Safety Audit Review team for Northeast Indiana – Review accident locations and suggest possible remediation.

Region III-A serves an area including Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, and Whitley counties in Northeast Indiana. If you are interested in securing funding for opportunities in the above categories contact us today. We look forward to a productive 2021 for our area.

Third Round of COVID Response Grants: Eligibility, Deadlines and Assistance

The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) announced the third phase of COVID-19 Response Program and it is now open for applications.

OCRA has awarded 112 grants to 62 communities, totaling more than $20.9 million through the COVID-19 Response Program since April to aid communities impacted by the virus.

For this round, eligible applicants include: non-entitlement and entitlement local units of government and can apply for up to $250,000. 

Eligibility 

Eligible activities include: 

  • Mental health services 
  • Childcare services
  • Public WiFi locations
  • Food pantry or bank services
  • Subsidence payment programs
  • Grants or loans to businesses to retain low-to-moderate (LMI) jobs

Phase 3 is a competitive process. Communities that received an award in either previous phase may apply again.

Deadlines 

Proposals are being accepted until the end of the day Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. Note: applicants are encouraged to submit by 4 p.m. ET as there will be no technical support available after that time. Proposals will be collected by the electronic Grants Management System. Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 26th, 2021 with funding awards being announced on Thursday, April 1st, 2021. 

In March, Governor Eric Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-05 that allowed OCRA to redirect Community Development Block Grant funds to assist with COVID-19 needs, based on guidance from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Grant Application Assistance 

Region 3-A is here to help communities in the grant application process. The northeast Indiana area is among the areas impacted most by COVID-19. We encourage our communities to take advantage of these grant opportunities, as we can provide application assistance and guidance to improve the chances of receiving funding.

COVID-19 Response Program: More Information

More information can be found at https://www.in.gov/ocra/cdbg/covid-19-response-program/ or communities may contact the respective OCRA Community Liaison.

Wabash County Receives EDA Grant for Heartland Career Center Expansion

The Economic Development Administration has awarded a $4 million grant to Wabash County, Indiana, allowing them to expand the Heartland Career Center. The new facility will provide adult education/career training in healthcare and advanced manufacturing. 

Region 3A worked with Wabash County to help secure EDA grant funding for the facility. The funding will be matched with $1 million in local funds and is expected to help create or retain nearly 150 jobs.

Heartland Career Center 

This new facility will be a hub for job training in the Wabash County region, providing the skilled employees that local businesses demand. The project’s location is near an EDA designated “Opportunity Zone” and is expected to continue to drive private investment to the community.

Opportunities from the facility will include workforce training and certifications in areas such as advanced manufacturing, welding and CNC. Space will also be dedicated to simulator training technology. 

About Opportunity Zones 

Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas.  

Steuben County Receives AIC 2020 Local Government Cooperation Award

We’re pleased to announce that a partnership between Steuben County, the Town of Ashley, and Region 3-A recently received the 2020 Local Government Cooperation Award by the Association of Indiana Counties (AIC). Our group was recognized for the infrastructure expansion project for economic development, working with the town of Ashley.

Project Background

Region 3-A partnered with Steuben County officials, officials from the town of Ashley. Together we worked to obtain federal and state grants for the development of Brightmark. Ashley was awarded a grant by the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to help expand water and sewer access for the new site in development by Brightmark.

Ashley was also awarded $1 million in Community Crossings money for a road, rail crossings and lighting for the Brightmark plant.

The new plant will recycle plastic waste back into fuel and industrial waxes. The innovative company will provide about 130 new jobs for the area. Brightmark is now in the testing phase. It has already produced fuel and is the first commercial scale operation of this type in the nation.

AIC Local Government Cooperation Award

AIC Award Criteria

Counties that win the award must demonstrate that a project meets these criteria:

  • Demonstrates cooperation between one or more municipalities and county(s)
  • Shows innovation
  • Positive impact on the community and the participating governmental units; and potential for the activity to serve as a model for other local governments

The Association of Indiana Counties’ Annual Conference was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

See the award video here:

COVID-19 Regional Planning and Recovery

As a regional unit of government serving Northeast Indiana, our sole imperative has always been to support the advancement of Northeast Indiana. We have assisted with many community, economic development, transportation and housing projects throughout the region. Now in the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis, we are working on ways to help our community heal, help area businesses, and assist with economic growth to keep our region moving forward. 

Point of Contact

Region 3A has also served as a regional liaison to many state and federal agencies, providing an efficient single point of contact for 6 counties and 32 municipalities. As an agency governed by local county and municipal officials, Region 3A is here to support development and rehabilitation needs. 

Reliable Information 

Our promise to the counties that we serve is that we will always be informed with accurate and up-to-date information on emerging federal, state, local and private sector business support initiatives and programs, and available as a source for information. Now more than ever, we encourage businesses and organizations to reach out to explore options for grants and assistance under our services offerings. 

Relief and Moving Forward 

Region 3A is developing a plan with local and regional organizations to provide information and help our community receive short-term relief and assistance. We are here to help residents navigate the quick changes of available resources, provide necessary details, and meet deadlines for upcoming relief funding. 

If you would like more information on relief funding for businesses as it becomes available, please reach out to us at region3a@region3a.org.

EDA Accepting Applications for CARES Act Grant Funding

The Economic Development Administration has begun taking applications for their funding opportunity (NOFO) CARES Act. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law by President Trump on March 27 to provide the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” 

CARES Act Funding

This program will fund eligible economic development projects 80% and up to 100% under certain conditions. Eligible applicants include local governmental entities, institutions of higher educa­tion, not for-profit entities, and federally recognized Tribes. 

EDA Requirements

The EDA’s requirements are that projects must have a commercial/industrial benefit, and that multiple current or incoming businesses benefit from the project. 

Here are the types of projects that the EDA has funded in recent years:

  • Infrastructure – Water and sewer
  • Industrial parks – New or expansion of existing
  • Workforce training facilities
  • Business incubators
  • Brownfield redevelopment
  • Technology-based facilities
  • Multi-tenant manufacturing facilities
  • Science and research parks
  • Telecommunications infrastructure and development facilities
  • Revolving loan funds     
  • Economic diversification
  • Travel and tourism marketing campaigns

The above projects are examples of projects that will be funded, but it is not limited to these types of projects. Projects that specifically address COVID-19 issues, or a project that would allow for resiliency from this pandemic, would have a great opportunity to receive funding.

Applications for the CARES Act

The EDA will award grants to successful applications on a rolling basis. EDA began accepting applications on May 7, 2020 and will deploy its CARES Act funding as quickly, effectively, and efficiently as possible, and in a manner that meets the needs of these communities. 

Funding for eligible projects available on a “first come, first served” basis, so communities and organizations seeking funding should act fast. 


Contact us at region3a@region3a.org for more information on how to get your application started. For information and frequently asked questions regarding the CARES Act, visit the FAQs page of the EDA website.

Town of Ashley Indiana Awarded EDA Grant Funding

The Region 3-A team worked with the town of Ashley Indiana for more than a year to help them achieve EDA grant funding for infrastructure at the site of the new Brightmark Energy plant. We’re pleased to announce that earlier this week, Ashley Indiana was notified that they will receive a $1.2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration.

The EDA grant will help complete infrastructure projects to service the Brightmark Energy project that is under construction. Brightmark is going to use a patented process to convert waste plastics into fuel and industrial wax at their new 114,000 sq. ft. facility.

As a result, the 136 jobs are expected to be created within the new facility, along with opportunities for construction and infrastructure work as well throughout the project.

About The Project 

The Town of Ashley approached Region 3-A for assistance in EDA funding after Brightmark became the controlling owner of RES Polyflow. Our role was to help the community leverage their resources and ensure that all of the information and criteria is provided so that they could get the most funding available.

Steuben County provided a loan guarantee to Ashley of up to $1.5 million for the project, much of which will go toward matching funds. The town has set aside $1 million in tax increment financing money. Some of that financing money will pay for right of way acquisition and engineering fees.

About EDA Grant Funding

The EDA grant provides a 50/50 match of grant funding for infrastructure projects. However, it can more or less depend on economic factors. Private investment and community investment go a long way in making potential infrastructure projects come to fruition. If you’re interested in learning more about EDA Grant funding and how to best use the resources available to your town, contact us at region3a@region3a.org

Services Overview

We have recently redesigned our website to include more information on our services. As a reminder, here you can find an overview of our mission and the areas of focus in regional collaboration.

Region III-A operates under the Regional Planning Commission statute of the Indiana Code (I.C. 36-7-7) as a regional unit of government. A 32-member Board of Directors appointed by the counties, cities, and towns located within its service area governs the organization.

Area Services Overview

Region III-A serves an area which includes Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, and Whitley counties in Northeast Indiana. There are similar organizations within the State of Indiana covering approximately two-thirds of the state’s 92 counties.

Region III-A concentrates its efforts in four primary activities: 

  • Economic Development
  • Community Development 
  • Transportation
  • Housing Programs

Activities within the four primary areas above are generally confined to long-term planning, technical assistance, and wide-ranging support for efforts at the local level. 

If you would like more information, contact us today.