Tonight, Indiana Economic Development Corporation President Jim Schellinger will join the northwest Indiana region to celebrate ongoing planning and implementation of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative. During a presentation to the Lakefront Career Network and Michigan City Area Chamber of Commerce, Schellinger will present a $150,000 planning grant to the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.

Last month, the IEDC announced plans to award planning grants to the central, east central, northwest and west central regions to support continued quality of place planning. The corporation’s board of directors also proposed plans to develop a phase two plan of the initiative that would allow regions, including northwest Indiana, to apply for state matching funds to propel quality of place efforts. Because of the Regional Cities Initiative, 70 percent of the state’s population now lives in a region with a bold and viable plan for transforming its future.

In 2015, the northwest region proposed plans to build upon its industrial past by enhancing connectivity to attract talent and new business. The region’s priority project is to make significant improvements to the South Shore Line to advance access and convenience to Chicago, capitalizing on Chicago’s commuting population and increasing connectivity to the third largest metropolitan regional economy in the United States.

"This grant is of great help to our transit-oriented development planning efforts," said Bill Hanna, president and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. "Between now and 2022 we will be focused on a commuter rail recapitalization and expansion project that will not only transform our region’s access to Chicago and its 2.5 million jobs, but which will also bring nearly $2 billion in private development and over 5,000 new jobs to northwest Indiana. The planning this grant will fund is critical to ensuring that this investment produces the maximum return for residents of northwest Indiana and the state of Indiana."

Earlier this month, the IEDC approved state matching funds through the Regional Cities Initiative to support improvements to the South Shore Line in north central Indiana. Phase one of the four-phase project will focus on environmental and preliminary engineering work necessary to qualify for federal funding to double track the railroad from Gary to Michigan City.

Blue Chip Casino (777 Blue Chip Drive)
Michigan City, IN

4:00 p.m. – Networking begins
4:45 p.m. – Presentation begins

Media are welcome to attend.


Abby Gras (IEDC) – 317.232.8845 or

About Indiana Regional Cities Initiative Spearheaded by Governor Mike Pence, the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative sets a framework for neighboring communities across the state to work together to develop regional visions that are supported by compelling strategic plans focused on quality of place. The initiative will help each region develop a positive and unique national brand to advance the goal of becoming a destination for talent.

Passed in 2015 with bipartisan support by the Indiana General Assembly, the initiative is overseen by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. To learn more visit or follow on Twitter at @Indiana_EDC, #INRegionalCities.