Though there is already a lot of investment in Jasper, officials are pushing for more state partnerships in the community.
As part of his visit to Jasper last week, Indiana Economic Development Corporation head Jim Schellinger discussed the idea of smaller communities such as Jasper being included in Indiana’s newly formed Regional Cities initiative. Of course, that initiative was part of the state’s next 2 year budget that was passed during the most recent legislative session. Its aim is to fund $84 million for major projects across 7 different regions. The southwestern Indiana region is centered around Evansville for now and other cities that are part of the initiative include Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.
Schellinger stated that he and District 63 representative Mike Braun have already begun discussions on how to integrate Jasper and other small cities and towns into the Regional Cities Initiative. He says although that change could very well happen in the future, there are some moving parts involved:
Now much of the attention Jasper is getting from the state is centered around the recent wave of projects that will repurpose old factory buildings into usable spaces. Just this past week, a total of $50 million in investments took steps forward through the Jasper City Council. The most highlightable of those was the newly proposed River Center. That project would invest nearly $30 million to convert the vacant former Jasper Cabinet buildings into a hotel, office space and 75 workforce housing units.
Schellinger says the ideas Jasper is coming up with are right in line with what he’s seeing all around the state:
Schellinger was appointed as head of the IEDC back in late July. He replaced Eric Doden, who stepped down in May to take a job in his home city of Fort Wayne.