By Kirk White, assistant vice president for strategic partnerships, Indiana University
Radius Indiana, the regional economic development organization that operates in eight southwest-Indiana counties, celebrated 10 years of achievements at its annual stakeholders meeting Feb. 27. Although Indiana University does not have a campus in the Radius counties, I have represented the university to Radius since its inauguration in our efforts to connect IU’s expertise to the communities in the region. Our IU Center for Rural Engagement is perfectly suited to fulfill this mission.
The roster of new organizations and facilities in the region that Radius has supported over the past 10 years is impressive: WestGate@Crane Technology Park; the Battery Innovation Center; East Gate Business and Technology Center; Vincennes University Center for Technology, Innovation, and Manufacturing in Jasper; the growth of the French Lick Resort, the largest privately owned convention center in Indiana; I-69 from Evansville to Martinsville; a $42 million grant from the Lilly Endowment for the Rural Opportunities Initiative; Indiana Innovation Institute; and the IU Center for Rural Engagement have been significant drivers that guided the region’s success. IU has partnered to assist many of these initiatives.
Radius Indiana is a close partner with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which transfers funds from the French Lick Wagering Tax to support Radius initiatives. Since 2016, Radius has also helped identify projects for $3.1 million of Indiana Regional Impact funding, which is the “state’s only deal-closing fund,” according to Jeff Quyle, Radius Indiana CEO. All of this has translated to a 34 percent wage increase in the region since 2009.
The IU Office of the Vice President for Engagement was established in 2007 and opened an office at WestGate@Crane in 2018. Our staff looks forward to continuing to support economic and rural engagement projects in close association with Radius Indiana during the years to come.