City expecting $6 million in READI grant funding for NexusPark

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Local officials expect to receive $6 million in grant funding for amenities at the NexusPark campus.

According to Columbus Director of Administration and Community Development Mary Ferdon, the South Central Indiana Talent Region has received “initial approval” for a $6 million Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) grant for NexusPark. They are now ready to seek final approval and expect to hear back within the next month.

“It ain’t over until we have the money in hand, but we’re very confident that we’ll be able to use $6 million from that regional grant for NexusPark,” said Ferdon.

The South Central Indiana Talent Region which includes Bartholomew, Jackson and Jennings counties, as well as Edinburgh was awarded a $30 million READI grant in December. The competitive grant program encouraged Indiana communities to partner together on proposals for future growth and improvement in their region, particularly in regards to talent attraction and retention.

Ferdon said that the region has worked with the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Ernst & Young, and the Administrative Resources association during the grant process and is now ready to submit an application for NexusPark funding.

“We have been working with the IEDC and Ernst & Young for several months,” she said. “They’ve been giving us guidance as to what documentation they needed, and we’ve explained the project and making sure it fits the parameters from the state’s perspective. And they’re very supportive of it. As soon as we get it submitted in the portal in the next week or so, we’ll be in the process for final approval.”

When asked which pieces of the NexusPark project the grant would help fund, Ferdon said that they’ve identified areas that will benefit the community and were clearly requested during public input sessions. In discussing this, she mentioned a fitness area and locker room, a child watch area, a teaching kitchen, multipurpose activity space, a three-acre park plaza and external walking paths.

“This is a huge bonus for the project and will allow us to provide a lot of amenities that the community had requested,” she said.

For the complete story, see Saturday’s Republic.