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.

FCC Map Challenge Survey – Broadband Funding Allocation


Residents and businesses need to challenge the FCC allocation map by the upcoming deadline to ensure Indiana communities are granted appropriate funding for broadband infrastructure. 

Access to broadband internet is a key topic in communities across the United States. The FCC will be distributing $700 million dollars for this infrastructure in late 2023/early 2024, prioritized by need.  The FCC National Broadband map will be used to determine this need.  The information currently contained in this map was submitted by broadband providers and reported to be quite inaccurate by representatives throughout the Region 3-A service area. Please take the time to challenge locations in your community and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same – an accurate map is imperative to receiving funding.


FCC Broadband Map

Helpful Information: 

See below for useful links, a YouTube video tutorial, and other helpful materials.  If you still need help or have questions about this program, please reach out to us for further guidance. 

How to challenge availability

Overview of the process

New map, search by address

How to challenge YouTube tutorial

FCC Press Release

Fact Sheet

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 

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.