Regional Cities Initiative To Increase Innovation In Northeast Indiana

Steuben County’s new Enterprise Center will house traditional co-working space for small businesses and growing firms, as well as a dedicated industrial training facility with welding and CNC machinery training equipment.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has approved Regional Cities Initiative funding for three projects in Northeast Indiana. The region was one of three selected to receive state funding through the Regional Cities Initiative, which will allocate a total of $126 million toward 100 quality of place projects totaling more than $2 billion in combined state, local and private funding in order to retain and attract top talent.

Steuben County IN
Image: IEDC

“The purpose of the Regional Cities Initiative is to encourage communities to collaborate and plan regionally for their future and attract and retain talent,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “These three projects offer something for everyone in northeast Indiana – urban housing, workforce and business development, and health and wellness. I look forward to witnessing the positive impact these projects will have on their communities and the state as a whole.”

In Steuben County, an existing five-building, 70,000-square-foot complex will be converted into a business incubator dubbed the Enterprise Center. The state will provide $323,000 of the project’s total $1.89 million investment. The complex will house traditional co-working space for small businesses and growing firms, as well as a dedicated industrial training facility with welding and CNC machinery training equipment. Located on 4.5 acres half a mile south of Angola’s public square, the Enterprise Center will address employers’ needs while partnering with training providers.

Phase one of the three-phase Enterprise Center project focuses on the creation of the training center, which includes building out two classrooms and office space, installing computer stations and refurbishing the parking and grounds. Within the training center, the facility will house two CNC lathes and two CNC mills along with four CNC simulators. The facility will also include 10 welding stations, additional space for future equipment needs, as well as connections to the Steuben County Fiber Network (iMAN), a privately-owned fiber network.

“We are very excited to move forward and with these funds, we will be able to provide the training for incumbent and new employees for a better quality of life in Steuben County and Northeast Indiana. This is just the beginning for The Enterprise Center, now just watch us grow! Thank you IEDC,” said Craig Ralston, board president of the Steuben County Economic Development Corporation.

“As an economic development practitioner, I am continuously building our community assets to make Steuben County businesses and communities stronger and more attractive. The Enterprise Center, from a workforce development focus, does this and more! We are excited about the opportunities that will come with a facility like this,” said Isaac R Lee, MBA, executive director of the Steuben County Economic Development Corporation.

The two other two projects that were approved will enhance downtown living opportunities in Warsaw, and improve connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians in the Northeast Region.

In the city of Warsaw, two blocks along North Buffalo Street will be redeveloped, connecting downtown to Center Lake and Central Park, adding urban housing, streetscape enhancements and constructing a public plaza. The state will fund $3.5 million of the total $17.56 million investment.

The third project will add 111 miles to the existing 170 miles of trails, connecting communities across the 11-county Northeast Region. The state will contribute $498,000 to the total $3.1 million project investment.

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