Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) releases pre-submission checklist to help regions prepare for Regional Economic + Acceleration Development Initiative (READI) project or program awards.
The Evansville Regional Economic Partnership (E-REP), in its role supporting the Southwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA), received state guidance to aid in determining what is needed for a project or program to move forward with a READI award while complying with federal funding guidelines. Though the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was identified as the funding source when the READI program was created, the exact compliance required was not known until the U.S. Department of Treasury released the final rules in January 2022.
The newly released pre-submission checklist allows regions to understand what project or program compliance is needed for the overall READI initiative. The expectation is that projects or programs selected to move forward after a regional evaluation will be able to meet the guidelines outlined in the pre-submission checklist.
The Evansville region is currently preparing its evaluation and award process. What we know:
- Step 1 Evaluation: Regions are preparing their individual process for awarding READI funding within their region. A requirement of the READI Regional Development plan was to identify and define how the region will evaluate projects for funding. The evaluation criteria in the plan (pages 112-115) is still relevant and can be found here. Informed by the plan, the Regional Development Authority (RDA) will finalize and announce final evaluation criteria, along with the timeline and official process for this first step in the early part of the second quarter. The RDA does not anticipate that applicants will need to follow the procurement guidelines described in the Final Rule, hyperlinked above, until a project or program is selected for Step 2. E-REP as the regional economic and community development organization will continue to support projects and programs not aligned with READI.
- Step 2 Collaboration and Review: Selected projects and programs from Step 1 will work alongside the IEDC, Ernst & Young (EY) and E-REP on behalf of the RDA to complete the pre-submission checklist. Procurement will be required, and resources will be available to aid the project or program in procurement completion. The IEDC and E&Y will determine the appropriate ARPA expenditure category.
- Step 3 Approval and Submission: If the selected project or program appears to strongly align with the goals of the region’s community vision (Talent 2025), READI goals and ARPA compliance, the application will go before the RDA board for vote. If endorsed by majority vote, the application will be submitted via a grant management tool for final approval by the IEDC with support from EY.
- Step 4 Award and Ongoing Compliance: Approved projects or programs will be required to complete ongoing reporting. Funds must be obligated by December 2024 and expended by December 2026.
E-REP and RDA will provide updates with relevant information as it becomes available via the READI page at evansvilleregion.com.