Road to One Million Kick-Off Celebration [Photos]

This past Thursday, more than 1,000 people gathered at the Grand Wayne Center for the “Road to One Million” kick-off celebration. The event, hosted by Greater Fort Wayne and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, was also a celebration of the selection of northeast Indiana as the winner of up to $42 million in state matching funds as part of the Regional Cities Initiative.

Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, and Whitely counties make up the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA), the largest in the state. The Road to One Million represents the goal to grow the region’s population from 789,015 to 1,000,000 by 2031. 

The Road to One Million plan draws from hundreds of existing community plans, focus groups in each county, interviews with stakeholders, walking tours and planned private sector investments. The full portfolio of $1.4 billion in investments features 70 projects including phase 1 projects (years 1 and 2); longer term projects (years 3-8 implementation); and ideas for projects beyond the state’s initial 8-year timeframe.

Attracting and retaining young talent is one of the essential elements to the Road to One Million. By creating a national identity for Indiana cities, improving infrastructure, amenities, and quality of place projects, the region should become a magnet for businesses and people. 

With live music from the West Central Quartet, confetti cannons, door prizes from each county, a champagne toast, and heartfelt speeches— excitement and the promise of growth made the evening one to remember. 

Being selected for Regional Cities funding by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is a tremendous step forward for our region. I continue to be encouraged by the momentum and investment we’re seeing by working collectively to make a meaningful difference throughout northeast Indiana. We’re a region moving in the right direction. I’m looking forward to seeing how the implementation of several innovative projects will strengthen our position as an economic and quality of place leader.
— Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry

Find out more about the Regional Cities Initiative