READI Applications

Last Summer the South Bend Elkhart Regional Partnership (SBERP), of which Marshall County is a part, announced their intention to go after READI grant dollars in much the same way they did with the Regional Cities Initiative a few years ago. Culver Sand Hill Farm was asked to participate as the developer for a project in Plymouth. Easterday Construction Co., Inc. would serve as General Contractor. This project was a small (13 unit) townhouse project on Water Street in Plymouth.

The READI program is being administered through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and is modeled after the successful Regional Cities Initiative. The funding is designed to leverage State funds in order to bring in private funding on projects the region’s municipalities want to see move forward. It offers up to 20% READI dollars as a match against a minimum participation of 20% municipal participation and 60% private investment. This makes it difficult for larger public projects like parks, trails and social programs to move forward, where there would be no return on the private investment, but provides a great opportunity to meet other goals.

Water Street Townhomes

We were pleased that the City of Plymouth wanted to work with us on this and were happy to help, as it fit with Culver Sand Hill Farm’s continued housing efforts. While not a LIHTC project, such as The Paddocks and Riverside Commons, it was an effort to bring additional workforce housing to downtown Plymouth. This adds to Plymouth’s downtown revitalization and it would be within a block of River Park Square, the newly renovated Rees Theater, Wild Rose Moon and adjacent to downtown businesses. Thank you to Mayor Mark Senter and City Attorney, Sean Surrisi, for their vision and help moving this forward! I approached the Town of Culver to see if they wanted to do something similar. I was told that a straw pole of council members indicated there was interest and they would support our application. This came “last minute” and we spent most of a weekend putting an application together, so that Culver could benefit as well.

Water Street Townhomes Site Plan

South Bend Elkhart Regional Partnership was successful in their bid, securing $50 Million dollars for the Region. That was great news. There’s been some confusion about how this would proceed, but both projects were included in the application, so were thought to be secure. There was back and forth at SBERP on whether other projects not in the original application could be considered. In the end, it was decided they would be considered, so that opened other opportunities. It’s still unclear whether projects in the initial application will be given more weight in considerations.

Plymouth E-Hub Interior

In Plymouth, Culver Sand Hill Farm has worked with the city to put together another application for an E-Hub. This is envisioned to be an entrepreneur incubator with spaces available to encourage new business starts. This project has been on Plymouth’s radar for years and this appeared to be a perfect opportunity to move it forward. This is an exciting opportunity for the city and should be a benefit to Marshall County as a whole.

In Culver, there has been a lot of false starts and back & forth on READI. Culver Sand Hill Farm continued to support the idea presented in the original application, while making some changes to make it better. As Culver’s partner in the Stellar applications, we were ready to step up and help again. We were the only ones from Culver to attend the mandatory information meeting in Argos and were encouraged by SBERP representatives to proceed.

Culver Crossroads created a READI subcommittee, only to disband it when Culver decided not to participate in READI. (We also discussed the possibility of an E-Hub project with Culver, but the committee had different goals in mind and we couldn’t arrive at a viable project.) In the last few weeks, Culver reversed course and decided to submit a housing project application with another, out-of-town, developer rather than proceed with us. Things happen. While disappointing, pushing it without support would be foolish.

Another partner in all these applications has been Brent Martin of SRKM Architecture. He provided the graphics included here and have helped advocate for these projects. Brent has been helpful in articulating a vision for the sites we’re considering.

We’re looking forward to helping Plymouth in their efforts. We should find out if our applications were successful sometime this Fall, making these 2023-2024 projects. Wish us and the City of Plymouth luck!

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