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KEDCO Talent & Entrepreneurship Stories: Progressing with purpose – Local leaders share community highlights with Regional Development Authority 

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Telling our story

Our community has stories to tell. As the Orthopedic Capital of the World®, with global-leading agribusinesses, and with a thriving recreational industry complementing our vast landscape of 100+ lakes throughout the county, we play a unique part in feeding, healing and restoring the world.

From engaging and supporting our entrepreneurial community with more opportunities,  and building upon industry strengths while also prioritizing quality of life-focused amenities, we’re taking purposeful steps to make an even brighter Kosciusko County.

Earlier this month, several community organizations and leaders circled around the table to host the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) and share about the progress we’re making together throughout the county.

The RDA was formed by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership to attract and invest funds into catalytic regional projects focused on talent attraction and retention and improved quality of life. Appointed by their respective counties and municipalities, the five-member RDA board is committed to improving the region by investing in regionally significant projects that support the growth of Northeast Indiana.

“There is a saying that iron sharpens iron, and the work we are undertaking now is building on the strengths of our community and the legacy of investments that have been made through many decades,” said KEDOC CEO Alan Tio, “We are building new momentum with transformative placemaking projects that programs like READI will help us to move forward.”

In 2022 alone, more than 350 READI projects were proposed across the state. And there’s more to be done. READI project focus areas include: quality of life, quality of place, and quality of opportunity.

So how is K-County advancing in these areas? Several local leaders shared the scoop with the RDA.

Progress highlights

Tio opened with highlights on local economic development objectives, and how we’re working together to address needs and solve problems in the community.

State Representative Craig Snow and OrthoWorx CEO Bob Vitoux shared an update on the state’s $30 million appropriation to Kosciusko County to strengthen the local orthopedic industry.

“We are fortunate for the deep history of orthopedics and many supporting organizations related thereto in Kosciusko County, along with the extensive agricultural presence and broad base of successful businesses represented, and don’t take any of this or our title as the Orthopedic Capital of the World® for granted,” said Vitoux.

Snow and Vitoux both emphasized the importance of utilizing the funding as a key building block to continue evolving and growing the local industry and supporting amenities.

“With the many great economic investments being made by our state, including the future $30 million Orthopedic Industry Retention Initiative, and READI 2.0 on the horizon, KEDCO’s proactive hosting of the Northeast Indiana RDA was an excellent way for several of our local leaders to share how we are working together on the development and execution of plans which will continue to advance our county, region, and state well into the future. We are grateful for the RDA making this visit and OrthoWorx being chosen to participate, along with the support we continue to receive from our many industry, education, and community partners and look forward to advancing the Orthopedic Capital of the World® for generations to come,” said Vitoux.

Additionally, Kosciusko County Commissioner Cary Groninger shared updates on the Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program (HELP) Kosciusko and how the program is engaging and impacting our rural communities through four focus areas: advancing e-connectivity, enhancing quality of place, promoting community wellness and strengthening local economies. To-date, more than 20 projects are in process or completed as a result of the volunteer-supported HELP Kosciusko program.

KEDCO Leadership Partner Suzie Light spoke about excitement ahead with the Community Centered Economic Inclusion program, which has generated an agenda titled, “Critical Corridor Connections” for placemaking in downtown Warsaw and along the Winona Avenue corridor. And Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer shared highlights on an extensive list of housing development projects underway within the City thanks to more than a decade of planning and infrastructure investments.

The excitement was there. And the energy was felt. With questions and anticipation about what’s ahead with the READI 2.0 program, one thing is certain –– Kosciusko County plays a unique part in the state. We’re putting our best foot forward. And we’re just getting started.

Learn more about KEDCO and how the organization is making an impact in Kosciusko County by visiting Connect with KEDCO on Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram @kosciuskoedc.

State Representative Craig Snow shares updates with the RDA board and local leaders.