State designates Starke County a Rural Opportunity Zone • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

State designates Starke County a Rural Opportunity Zone

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State of Indiana

Starke County is among the latest in the state to be designated a Rural Opportunity Zone.

The initiative, coordinated by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, in partnership with the Purdue Center for Regional Development, Purdue Extension Community Development and Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, provides technical assistance and capacity-building support to rural areas to boost economic development.

“With (this) announcement, more rural communities will have the necessary materials to attract capital to their designated areas,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “With our state's housing agency now involved in the initiative, we are addressing a critically important piece of economic development and talent attraction on an individual economic level.”

The designation allows select communities in rural Indiana to attract private, public and/or philanthropic investments that support local priorities, the state said. The program is funded by a Rural Business Development Grant from the Indiana U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

Other communities selected: city of Connersville; city of Delphi; city of Princeton; Putnam County; and Rush County.

“We are eager to work with these six stakeholder groups to build dynamic and resilient communities through a strategic process which will result in a community-driven prospectus,” said Denny Spinner, executive director of OCRA.  

In 2018, 156 communities were nominated for Indiana Opportunity Zones with the guidance of an advisory group, with statewide representation. OCRA completed an initial assessment of the selected zones and identified 46 sites as rural opportunity zones.

Counties selected for the designation last year included: Daviess, DeKalb, Knox, Newton and Switzerland.


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