Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 28, 2013

Editorial - Feb. 28, 2013: Developing the region

The issue: Cass, Fulton, Miami, Howard, Tipton and Clinton counties forming a regional economic development group.

Our view: A comprehensive strategy to area development should benefit the economies of all participating counties.

Much has changed in the world of federal grants. New regulations make it very important to be a part of regional groups when applying for federal funding.

When seeking grant funds for a new project, a common question is, “What kind of regional impact will the project have”? And those that can show that impact are given priority over those that don’t. And the bigger the region impacted, the better.

That’s the reasoning Miami County commissioners gave in December when they voted to join the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. (Just calls it CEDS.)

It’s the same reason Cass County officials gave when they did the same thing last week.

Commissioners voted in favor of joining the CEDS group with Fulton, Miami, Howard, Tipton and Clinton counties.

Connie Neininger, president of the Cass County-Logansport Economic Development Foundation, understands the need to think outside the county lines.

“We realize we’re not an island out here by ourselves,” she said late last year.

She continued to say cross-county coordination is important because improvement of one county carries over to the next.

The strategy is the brainchild of elected officials, community members, economic development organizations and business leaders. A mountain of knowledge went into the creation of this group, and we stand behind area county officials’ decision to join it.

The group has some lofty goals. It will work to develop work forces for modern and future jobs, improve downtown space in cities and towns, and advance infrastructure for business and transportation.

But, Neininger warns, those goals aren’t set in stone. Just like grant regulations, the needs of a region are ever-evolving.

But it sure sounds like a good jumping off point to us.