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I&M Economic Impact Grants Support Communities in Indiana, Michigan

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Indiana Michigan Power helped communities across our service territory in 2018 with more than $165,000 in Economic Impact Grants designed to support and boost local economies.

The Economic Impact Grant Program was created in 2018 to assist communities and economic development organizations by investing in projects and initiatives that will lead to the attraction of new businesses and creation of new jobs.

“As the hometown energy provider in more than 150 communities, I&M values being a solid corporate citizen and wants to see our Hoosier and Michigan communities thrive,” said Toby Thomas, I&M President and Chief Operating Officer. “In addition to Building the Future with better technology and serving customers in the ways they want to be served, I&M supports strategic programs to help the economies of our communities grow.”

From a Website aimed at helping employers connect with prospective employees to the new “Make it Your Own” regional program to attract and keep jobs and residents in northeast Indiana, I&M’s 2018 Economic Impact Grants included financial support to help residents of several Hoosier communities:

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• Northeast Indiana. Leaders of communities throughout the 11-county northeast Indiana region know that together, we are stronger. By working together as part of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, the region has drawn attention, talent, business and funding that helps strengthen the area. I&M is helping the partnership target and attract talented new residents and businesses who may be unfamiliar with the area’s many opportunities and great quality of life.

The project included developing the Make it Your Own” regional brand and logo that will resonate with prospective new residents. For more information, go to makeityourownNEI.com

• Yorktown. The growing Delaware County town of more than 9,000 is working to develop a more vibrant downtown for residents and businesses, offering living spaces, restaurants and more shopping to help bring a greater sense of community. The long-term plan for a Destination Downtown Yorktown includes a new public park connecting downtown with Morrow’s Meadow.

I&M is helping with a grant to support the overall planning of public gathering spaces.

• Jay, Randolph and Wayne counties. These counties are largely rural but include the cities of Portland, Winchester and Union City. Employers there are recruiting talented individuals, who may be unaware of the many job opportunities in the area. A grant from I&M helped create HoosierOpportunity.com, a jobs website for employers and prospective employees in the three counties.

• Steuben County. The county of 105 lakes in the northeastern corner of Indiana offers great location, a vibrant quality of life and already has a strong manufacturing base. The county is well-poised to welcome emerging industries, including food and beverage manufacturing, information technology and more. I&M is pleased to help support a three-year marketing campaign for invest steuben – the Steuben County Economic Development Corp. – targeting specific industries using highly developed email, website, social media and video content aimed at bringing additional investment to the area.

• LaPorte County. I&M serves portions of northern LaPorte County and recognizes the growing opportunities for development in the area surrounding Indiana Highway 39 and Interstates 80-90. I&M helped support a hotel feasibility study and engineering studies to build a water tower within the 39 North Conservancy District to ensure an adequate water supply to attract new commercial and industrial customers to the area.

I&M also supports efforts to launch Vibrant Communities, an initiative to bring together 15 diverse communities and emphasize enhancing, understanding and sharing the quality of place within LaPorte County. I&M is partnering with the LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Unity Foundation of La Porte County to showcase LaPorte County’s Vibrant Communities.

I&M created the Indiana Economic Impact Grant program as part of the company’s Building the Future plan approved in 2018 by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. I&M worked with several Hoosier cities and other customer groups to create the grant program to support catalytic economic development projects in the Hoosier communities we serve. I&M has awarded more than $130,000 in Economic Development Grants in 2018 in Indiana and will award more than $100,000 in 2019.

I&M also awarded a total of $35,000 to support two Michigan economic development projects:

• Niles/Bertrand Township/Berrien County. Fast Internet is vital to business and industry for communicating with customers, suppliers and others. Enhancing interconnectivity by extending 1-gigabyte fiber-optic broadband from downtown Niles to the Bertrand Crossing Technical Park will help business – and employment – in the area. The enhanced Web capability will serve 10 existing businesses and aid in attracting two additional businesses that require reliable high-speed internet service. I&M is a partner with the Southwest Michigan Economic Growth Alliance, the City of Niles, Bertrand Township and Midwest Energy and Communications in supporting the project.

• Berrien County. Today’s businesses move quickly to stay ahead of the competition. When businesses weigh possible sites for relocation and expansion, a spec building offers businesses savings in time and money. I&M is providing support for site readiness activities required prior to construction of a spec building planned by Cornerstone Alliance.

For more information about I&M’s support for the economies of the communities it serves in both Indiana and Michigan, contact Ashley Savieo 260-438-5426 or Shelley Klug 269-235-2006.