BEDFORD, Ind. (March 13, 2023) — Cities and towns in the Radius Indiana region are developing new economic opportunities through Spark Downtown, an educational program that helps community leaders take steps to create new businesses and address vacancy in downtowns.
Spark Downtown was created by Radius after several communities spent a year participating in ReCast Cities, a national economic development program aimed at building strong local economies and creating new opportunities for community members. Elected officials, local economic development professionals, and community leaders came together each month to hear from experts that helped them learn how to transform spaces, change the use of existing spaces and create collaboration between entrepreneurs and building owners.
Participating cities from the first year with ReCast and now Spark Downtown include: The Town of Orleans, Town of Odon, City of Washington, City of Salem, City of Loogootee, City of Bedford and City of Jasper.
“With the participation in ReCast we knew we wanted to continue to offer a resource for our region to help strengthen downtowns. Spark Downtown builds on the success of ReCast, but is allowing us to customize our curriculum for our region,” said Blaine Parker, director of entrepreneurship and small business support for Radius Indiana. “We know that to attract new residents to our region and to keep our existing residents we must make sure that our cities and towns have a high quality of life.”
Radius recently secured funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for businesses in participating Spark Downtown communities to help them make improvements to almost any facade project that is visible from the road. The organization realized during the last year that its communities often lack the necessary funding to take on projects they would like to complete to help revitalize blighted areas of their downtowns.
Building owners in participating Spark Downtown communities are eligible to apply and must receive committee approval and be able to secure 50 percent matching funds.
To learn more about the Spark Downtown Facade Loan or apply, please contact the Radius Indiana office at 812-277-9778.
ABOUT RADIUS INDIANA: Radius Indiana is a regional economic development partnership representing eight counties in Southern Indiana: Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Orange, and Washington. Formed in 2009, Radius Indiana also serves as a point of contact in Indiana for Naval Support Activity Crane. It leads regional collaboration by leveraging the diverse assets of Southwest Central Indiana to drive attraction, retention, and expansion of business, thereby increasing employment and investment opportunities and quality of life within the region.