State says Kokomo READI for investment

Written on 06/24/2024
Patrick Munsey

IEDC awards $35 million to develop Mirae Trails

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Kokomo gained yet another economic development investment earlier this month as the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) awarded the community $35 million from the READI 2.0 grant program.

At a special meeting of the IEDC hosted by Ivy Tech Community College’s Kokomo campus, Gov. Eric Holcomb made the announcement, giving a green light to the Mirae Trails planned, mixed-use development, located on the city’s northeast side.

The funds from the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) were secured through an application process in which regional committees vied for part of a $500 million pot of funding. The announcement this month is the second READI award given to Kokomo’s six-county region. Additional funding was granted in 2023 to several projects across the region, including an investment in Ivy Tech’s Industry 4.0 advanced manufacturing labs.

Ivy Tech Kokomo’s Chancellor Ethan Heicher welcomed the IEDC to Hingst Hall on the campus and explained how those previous investments benefitted the college.

“Today, the faculty and staff do the work of building communities and making communities stronger through higher education,” said Heicher. “With the recent large investment in our community and throughout our six-county service area, the faculty and staff have worked hard to maximize the positive impact that these investments had in our communities over the last two years.

“None of that community building work is possible without our regional and state partners. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation is among those community partners and state partners. The campus has been a recipient of READI funds and other IEDC support. And that support has allowed us to build labs and start high school manufacturing program pathways that directly support the economic growth of our communities.”

Developed by Birch Dalton of Westfield, the 64-acre Mirae Trails development is expected to include market-rate apartments, duplexes, townhomes, a commercial complex with professional offices, retail spaces, restaurants, and possibly a hotel. The total development cost is estimated at $100 million, with a five- to seven-year window for construction completion.

Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore expressed his gratitude for the IEDC’s endorsement of the community’s economic development efforts.

“A lot of what we've been able to accomplish these last two and a half years has been a great collaborative partnership, not only between city and county, but also with our friends at the IEDC,” said Moore. “Many within the IEDC have been very instrumental in landing this incredible, generation-changing development in our backyard.

“We truly appreciate the work ongoing with the folks at the IEDC, and we're looking forward to an even brighter future and great working relationship with the state to continue that success.”

The IEDC had other matters to address during the meeting, and of note was the scorecard of how successful the state has been this year in attracting new investment.

IEDC representatives pointed out that the state announced five major economic development expansions in the second quarter of 2024, including:

SK Hynix’s $3.87 billion semiconductor packaging facility in West Lafayette;

An additional $5.3 billion investment in Lebanon by Eli Lilly to manufacture breakthrough obesity and diabetes drugs Zepbound and Mounjaro;

A $2 billion investment from Google to create a data center in Fort Wayne;

A $1 billion Microsoft data center in LaPorte; and

A $1.4 billion investment from Toyota for an electric vehicle assembly plant in Princeton.

A total of $27.1 billion in economic development has been committed to Indiana this year, which is a 325 percent increase over 2023. Those investments are expected to create more than 7,500 new jobs

In all, economic development projects have been launched across 36 counties since the start of 2024, including the $500 million ready to be allocated from the READI 2.0 grant program.