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Economic Outlook

Growing Indiana’s Population

October 30, 2018 (Updated: 9:31 AM)
Author Jeff Rea

About Jeff

Jeff Rea is currently the President & CEO of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce. Jeff has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in our region while working in areas such as Economic Development, Business Development, City Planning, Marketing, and Local Government. Jeff has a degree from Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC and executive management continuing education work at the University of Notre Dame.

Welcome to our show and to my weekly blog where I give you a sneak peek into this week’s show. If this is your first time, thank you for joining us. If you are a regular, thank you for your loyal support. We are working hard to keep on top of key issues impacting our local economy, and believe we have a good one for you this week.

I invited my friend Eric Doden to join me for the show. Eric is the former head of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and currently is the CEO of Greater Ft. Wayne Inc., the Chamber/Economic Development Organization for Ft. Wayne and Allen County. Eric was the architect of the Regional Cities Program, a state initiative aimed at growing population and raising the profile of other Indiana economies.

Three communities received regional cities awards in phase 1, including our region. We took that $42 million state grant and leveraged almost $700 million of private capital investment in St. Joseph, Marshall, and Elkhart Counties. Many of those projects are underway now. Mayor Dave Wood from the City of Mishawaka joined us to talk about a key project in downtown Mishawaka that was a recipient of those funds. It is transforming Mishawaka’s downtown.

The truth is Indiana is doing better, but still growing slower than many of our peers. Our area has been growing at about .4%, Indiana at 2.3%, and the nation at over 5%. We know we need to accelerate that growth. Eric and I got a chance to talk in greater detail about additional tools that could help spark that growth, including Regional Cities 2.0 and a Regional Development Tax Credit. I hope after watching the show, you have a better understanding of the State’s challenges and the tools that could help address those.

Finally, we wanted Developer perspective. Brad Toothaker from the Bradley Company joined us. The Bradley Company has major projects underway in Ft. Wayne, South Bend and across the Midwest.

Big thanks to my Co-Host, George Lepeniotis, and our Producer Patrick Meehan, for doing double duty on the field shoots this week.

I hope you enjoy the show!

Remember, you can connect with us a variety of ways. Feel free to email me at jrea@sbrchamber.com; follow me on Twitter at @Jeff_Rea, follow the station on Twitter @wnitpublictv, or like us on Facebook.

One final reminder, you can catch the show Tuesday’s at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday’s at 12:30 p.m. on WNIT. You also can catch your favorite episodes anytime at https://www.wnit.org/economicoutlook/