The City of Carmel is among the latest municipalities to join the Central Indiana Regional Development Authority, a new group formed to collect and distribute White River READI grant funds from the state in the short term and unite neighboring municipalities in the long term in addressing regional issues.
The Carmel City Council unanimously voted May 16 to approve an ordinance that withdrew the city from the Central Indiana Regional Development Authority and authorized its membership in the new RDA.
The previous RDA also included Indianapolis, Greenwood and Westfield. It formed in 2015 as the communities sought state grants associated with the IndyGo Red Line. That RDA will dissolve and be replaced by the new one, which is expected to have significantly more members.
Noblesville and Fishers have already joined the new RDA, and Zionsville, McCordsville, Hancock County, Marion County and other communities are expected to vote on it soon. RDAs primarily exist to allow communities to work together in a coordinated effort on matters such as attracting major business relocations or improving a transportation network.
In a May 16 presentation to the Zionsville Town Council about the new RDA, Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen said the need for the group became apparent as the team from Central Indiana pitching projects for the White River READI grants found a more cohesive approach presented from other regions that sought funding through an RDA.
“We were doing it among city staff and town staff, so we saw an obvious shortcoming we had in Central Indiana by not having a formed RDA in place,” Jensen said.
The White River READI grant partnership requested $50 million in funds and received $20 million. Jensen said additional READI grant funds could become available in the future, and he believes the RDA will allow central Indiana to better pursue them.
“The goal here is to get everyone in the same region going toward the same mission and get everyone around the table to start looking at long-term opportunities,” Jensen said.
Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation Director Michael Klitzing said it is still to be determined how much funding each municipality will receive, but he said it’s likely Carmel will end up with close to $4 million. The funds are expected to be used to extend its trail system near the White River from where it currently ends near Tall Timber Trail to 146th Street and build a river overlook structure.