In December of 2021, Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) approved plans to award $500 million to support regional development plans across 17 regions through the transformational Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI). Rushville, Shelbyville, Greensburg, and Batesville, along with Rush, Shelby, and Decatur counties, cooperated through Accelerate Rural Indiana (ARI) Region to apply for this grant funding.
The ARI Region of Rush, Shelby, Decatur, and Batesville were awarded $20 million. With projects aimed at increasing quality of life, infrastructure, housing, and workforce development, monies were evenly distributed between those in the region.
John McCane, executive director of Rush County ECDC, comments that “The ARI Region very well may be the only genuine rural region in this competition, so being awarded $20M is a huge deal. The state will quickly get a lesson in how this READI investment in the rural ARI Region will become a catalyst for future investment and dynamic growth in East Central Indiana.”
Rushville and Rush County will leverage its $5,485,714 grant dollars through two large projects focused upon quality of life, job creation, and public infrastructure.
Diamond Pet Foods: Providing public infrastructure for the integration of Diamond Pet Foods to the Rush County community
($223,183,214 total project budget; $1,485,714 READI allocation)
In the single largest investment in Rush County’s history, Diamond Pet Foods will invest more than $220 million to construct a 700,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility in Rushville and create more than 170 jobs by 2024. Nearly $1.5 million of Rush County’s READI grant money will be allocated to the development and expansion of infrastructure to support the new company. This will include the addition of a new elevated water tank in the Commerce Park, as well as water and wastewater expansion projects. While aimed specifically to benefit Diamond Pet Foods, these improvements will benefit future business and industries that choose to grow in Rush County. Groundbreaking on the facility is expected by late 2022. Rush County ECDC is the leading organization on this project.
Community Center: Centralizing and providing resources to Rush County families, students, and parents
($23,600,000 total project budget; $4,000,000 READI allocation)
At the end of 2020, the Rush County Community Foundation (RCCF) was awarded a $5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. toward the creation of a community center. The City of Rushville will be dedicating $4 million dollars of the READI grant funding towards the redevelopment of the former Walmart into this new community center. The REC (Recreation, Education and Collaboration) Center will be the product of an innovative approach to a decades long dream for our community, with something for everyone. The vison for the REC Center is to become an all-in-one resource for many of our community’s needs. It will house a fitness center, basketball court, walking/running track, indoor pool, and daycare center. It will also be the new, expanded home of the Rushville Public Library. There will be offices for other social service agencies, including the Rush County Community Assistance food pantry, WIC, ICAP, Rush County Senior Citizens Center and Indiana Children’s Bureau. The groundbreaking is to be expected by late 2022 or early 2023. The Rush County ECDC is the leading organization on this project.
The allocation of these READI funds will allow for two revolutionary projects that will improve infrastructure, quality of life, and create jobs within the Rush County community.