Shelbyville, Greensburg, Rushville, Batesville team with county partners to seek READI funding

July 1, 2021—Four of Indiana’s most innovative and successful rural cities near the Interstate 74 corridor southeast of Indianapolis have joined forces with their county partners to grow their communities and workforce talent. Accelerate Rural Indiana, a not-for-profit organization being launched by the cities and counties, will apply for a portion of the $500 million Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) planning grant and funding.

Shelbyville, Greensburg, Rushville and Batesville, along with Shelby, Rush and Decatur counties, are formally cooperating through Accelerate Rural Indiana. Accelerate Rural Indiana is focused on delivering lasting growth and success to one of Indiana’s greatest assets, its rural frontier. The communities along I-74 already have compiled an impressive record, having landed more than $73 million in grants and philanthropic funding to leverage more than $1.6 billion in private investment in the past five years.

“As a publicly traded company headquartered in Batesville, we continue to support efforts that provide the city with recruiting or economic advantages,” said Hillenbrand President and CEO Joe Raver. “This funding will help improve the quality of life in the community, attract more employees, and continue to contribute to economic growth, while also allowing us to be more successful in attracting corporate talent from the tri-state area.”

Shelbyville, Greensburg, Rushville and Batesville boast remarkably similar strengths. The top 10 industry sectors in each city are identical; each city has made dramatic progress in revitalizing their downtowns; each has attracted jobs and private investment by leveraging private dollars with public funding. Moreover, each city has been a finalist in Indiana’s Stellar Communities Program, which supports communities in improving their quality of place.

A READI grant would enable the community partners of Accelerate Rural Indiana to combine their strengths and ambitions to further increase quality of life and workforce initiatives, thereby helping attract and retain a 21st century workforce. Successful experiences gleaned by the cities also hold potential for sharing with other rural communities. The region hosts corporate partners including, but not limited to, Knauf, INTAT, Honda, Hillenbrand and Hillrom.

The READI program was funded by the 2021 General Assembly and is administrated by the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

“The city of Greensburg has been home to large direct investments from global corporations for decades, and we are excited about the opportunity to partner with our neighbors to show the world that southeastern Indiana and Accelerate Rural Indiana is ready for them to call us home," said Greensburg Mayor Joshua Marsh. "Our already momentous collaboration to improve the quality of life for current and future residents is only being made stronger by partnering in pursuit of being a READI recipient.”

Decatur County Community Foundation Executive Director Tammi Wenning added that, Community foundations were developed to help provide and leverage investments that will positively impact the areas we love. The READI program provides an outstanding opportunity for our organization and neighboring foundations to come together as partners and better our region. We're all eager to help make it happen. The collaboration we've seen so far is a testament to how well we have worked together in the past. We are excited by the potential to further unify the whole region—organizations, cities and counties alike—toward a set of regional goals. We truly look forward to working with everyone."


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Norm Heikens