What is
ADVANCE ECI?

An initiative to cultivate regional vision and create an action plan for East Central Indiana’s future.

ADVANCE ECI seeks to increase prosperity for residents, businesses, institutions, and local governments in the six-county East Central Indiana Regional Development Authority region.

ADVANCE ECI includes the counties of Blackford, Delaware, Henry, Jay, Madison, and Randolph.

 

In 2015, the region undertook an intensive research and planning effort to prepare an application for the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative, a program led by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation that funds compelling plans for development focused on quality of place.  This initiative included a regional demographic and labor market study along with a list of priority projects for investment. East Central Indiana was one of seven finalists.

Who?

Who is involved? ADVANCE ECI includes all communities within Blackford, Delaware, Henry, Jay, Madison, and Randolph counties. Together this area encompasses more than 350,000 residents and 110,000 jobs. Everyone in these counties is invited to participate.

Who is supporting the effort?  ADVANCE is supported by a growing group of government organizations, businesses, and institutions. These include…

Ball Brothers Foundation

Ball State University

Blackford County Economic Development

City of Muncie

Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County

Corporation for Economic Development,  Madison County

Delaware County Commissioners

East Central Indiana Regional Partnership

First Merchants Bank

George and Frances Ball Foundation

Henry County Community Foundation

IU-Health Ball Memorial Hospital

Ivy Tech Community College

Jay County Development Corporation

Muncie Community Schools

Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce

The Muncie Action Plan

Mutual Bank

New Castle Henry County Economic Development Corporation

Who is leading ADVANCE? A steering committee was formed to manage ADVANCE in 2015. Membership of the steering committee included a diverse group of community leaders from all six counties, representing government, institutions, businesses and general citizenry.

The steering committee worked closely with consulting firms Ninigret Partners and planning NEXT.

Andy Bowne
Ivy Tech Community College

Tom Bracken
George and Frances Ball Foundation

Jud Fisher
Ball Brothers Foundation

John Fallon
Ball State University

Julie Halbig
Ball State University

Mike Haley
IU-Health Ball Memorial Hospital

Dave Heeter
MutualBank

Tim Heller
Muncie Community Schools

Mindy Kenworthy
East Central Indiana Regional Partnership

Pam Price
East Central Indiana Regional Planning District

Steve Moore
First Merchants Bank

Kelly Shrock
Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County

Sherry Riggin
President, Delaware County Commissioners

Mayor Dennis Tyler
Mayor, City of Muncie

Corey Murphy
New Castle Henry County Economic Development Corporation

Rob Sparks
Corporation for Economic Development – Madison County

Bill Bradley
Jay County Development Corporation

Jacob Everett
Blackford County Economic Development

Jay Julian
Chief Economic Development Office; President/CEO, Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce

Terry Murphy
Vice President, Economic Development

Traci Lutton
Senior Project Director

 

Why?

Why is this project being conducted? The region has a strong asset base and unrealized potential that could be unlocked through a deliberate, inclusive and in-depth vision process. Also, the state of Indiana has created an incentive program—the Regional Cities Initiative—that could bring additional resources and attention to our region if we have a compelling vision and plan. This work—regional planning process—will be beneficial regardless of the state’s program, but it does provide us with some additional incentive.

What is The Regional Cities Initiative?  ADVANCE will allow the east central Indiana region to compete in Indiana’s Regional Cities Initiative. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation is encouraging communities to develop a vision and action plan that will “attract and retain future generations of Hoosiers.” The Regional Cities Initiative will award funding to implement projects in those regional action plans. For more information on the IEDC’s Regional Cities Initiative visit http://indianaregionalcities.com/.

Next Step

 
In 2018, the East Central Indiana Regional Development Authority launched an engagement process with regional leaders, businesses, and residents in Blackford, Delaware, Henry, Jay, Madison, and Randolph counties to define economic development priorities.

The Authority contracted with Indianapolis-based Thomas P. Miller & Associates, a national research and planning economic development consulting firm and Indianapolis-based Landstory, a landscape architecture firm, to lead the engagement process and update the regional cities plan for East Central Indiana. One initiative focused on quality of place is a regional trail plan. In the region, major trails like the Cardinal Greenway and White River Greenway currently intersect in Muncie now. The consulting team focused on an approach to define a network incorporating these and other trails in the region, linking urban centers, cultural sites, and recreational areas.

Help ADVANCE East Central Indiana by making your voice heard.