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.