Special public meeting set for Thursday

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Public input is being sought for quality-of-life projects that could be partially funded through the county’s participation in an economic growth initiative.

The special joint meeting of the Washington County Council and Board of Commissioners will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, in the courtroom of the Washington County Courthouse in downtown Salem.

County residents who attend the meeting will also learn the purpose behind county officials’ decision to join the One Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority.

Wendy Dant Chesser, president and CEO of One Southern Indiana, will be at the meeting to explain how the RDA’s work to funnel state economic development funds into regional projects.

In October, the Washington County Council voted to join the RDA. Other counties participating are Scott, Floyd, Clark and Jefferson.

Washington County officials now aim to develop regionally-beneficial project that help to attract people and businesses.

Part of attracting new businesses is to have a pool of talented employees the companies can hire. RDA’s participate in projects as a means to attract those potential employees to the region and to combat the state’s struggle with population stagnation.

In September, Chesser spoke to both the council and commissioners about RDA’s throughout the state. She said the three regions in north central, northeast and southwest Indiana that have formed RDA’s have completed 52 projects in three years with a total investment exceeding $2 billion with $126 million being funneled into the RDA’s from the state.

This year, state legislators have budgeted $30 million over two years for regional projects. Chesser said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb supports the regional initiative.

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