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Enjoy tonight’s special feature, presented by Mayor Jeff Gahan and the Bank of Gahan: “Wendy, Make Up Your Mind” (and do your RDA banking with us).
The story begins in a back room …
Regional Development Authority needs funding before it can plan projects, by Danielle Grady (Omnibus Tom May)
JEFFERSONVILLE — Project ideas at the fifth meeting for Southern Indiana’s Regional Development Authority ranged from region-wide rural internet access to a $40 million road from the Clark Regional Airport to River Ridge Commerce Center.
But the Our Southern Indiana RDA, which was formed at the beginning of the year to facilitate economic development projects in Clark, Floyd, Scott, Washington and Jefferson counties, isn’t in a position to start adopting any of those suggestions. Yet.
Before any formal project ideas are sent to the state for its consideration, funding is needed to create a plan.
Seems the pillars are skint, so they’re spending their time brainstorming.
Southern Indiana’s RDA has made positive progress in its first four months, said Dana Huber, the vice president of marketing and public relations at Huber’s Orchard and Winery and Clark County’s representative on the development authority’s board of directors. (Each participating county has its own advocate on the board).
Due to a lack of funding, however, the board has been limited to enacting processes and procedures and — as its members did on Monday in the Clark County Courthouse’s council chambers — discussing ideas that they might want to focus on when planning time finally comes around. That’s been a little challenging at times for the board, which is comprised of business leaders who are used to attaching to ideas and running with them immediately, said Huber. But it hasn’t been overwhelmingly difficult.
“I think the progress has been good,” Huber said. “I think we will feel better, the RDA team will feel better, once we’ve attached our brand to a timeline and some potential projects that will [make an] impact.”
The RDA does know that it wants its projects to impact the region — not just one city or county.
So, naturally, the first round of ideas are restricted (yet again) to Clark County, and reference no clue whatever that truly “regional” needs might just involve things like getting workers to jobs without always having to drive.
The RDA also invited Clark County Commissioners President Jack Coffman to propose a few projects that would benefit the area at the Monday meeting. His suggestions included the aforementioned internet access and road to the airport, as well as the heavy haul road connecting River Ridge, Interstate 265 and the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville.
The question can’t be evaded: If the RDAs are to be useful at all, and if needs truly are regional, is there any chance that the same old suspects might be compelled to think in a future tense, as a part from One Southern Indiana’s Econ Dev 101 template?