ANGOLA, Ind. -- The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has approved $2.8 million in funding for Trine University's Thunder Ice Arena and MTI Center, following a recommendation by the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority.
The funds will be disbursed within 35 days in accordance with state fiscal policy, the IEDC said.
The Northeast Indiana RDA approved the recommendation at its June 21 meeting. The Northeast Indiana RDA is responsible for distributing $42 million in funds granted to the 11-county region through Indiana's Regional Cities Initiative, established last year.
"In Indiana, we have made job creation job one, and the results are telling. Today, more Hoosiers are going to work than at any time in the state's 200-year history," said Gov. Mike Pence. "As we look toward our third century, the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative will play a crucial role in advancing economic development by improving the quality of place in our regions and attracting top talent to the state. Trine University's new Thunder Ice Arena and MTI Center will serve our Hoosier students, create more activities and opportunities for the Northeast Indiana community and draw more residents to the area, helping to create a vibrant downtown community."
"Trine University's Thunder Ice Arena and MTI Center are strong examples of why the Regional Cities Initiative was designed. We are attracting talent and creating a place where people want to live and work. With inventive and creative projects like this, we will grow the region to one million residents and attract the workforce critical to our employers' success," said Northeast Indiana RDA board chairman Jeff Turner, senior vice president of Metal Technologies.
Expected to be completed in fall 2017, the 46,200-square-foot, 700-seat Thunder Ice Arena will serve as the home for Trine University's new men's and women's hockey teams. The new arena also will host club and youth hockey programs for the Steuben County YMCA and local school corporations, and will be open to the public for skating at designated times.
The 3,000-seat MTI Center will feature three basketball courts, a six-lane bowling alley, e-sports (competitive video gaming) center and fitness center. The 74,840-square-foot building also will serve as an entertainment venue for larger audiences than can be accommodated in the T. Furth Center for Performing Arts. It is expected to be complete in 2018.
The Regional Cities funding represents about 15 percent of the total $18.9 million cost of the project. The university already has $13.5 million pledged toward the project in private donations and is receiving $1.4 million in gifts-in-kind – including streets, rights-of-way, sidewalks and storm drainage – from the city of Angola.
"For more than 130 years, Trine University has contributed to the quality of life and quality of place in northeast Indiana, and we appreciate the support and affirmation of the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation as we continue to equip students for leadership roles in industry, education and government throughout our region and beyond, and as we enhance the economy and community life of Steuben County," said Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., Trine University president.
"We also greatly appreciate the assistance and public support given by the city of Angola, which was vital to our success in this endeavor, as well as the area legislators, Parkview Health officials and prominent members of our board of trustees who championed us through this process."
The purpose of the Regional Cities Initiative funding is to attract and retain talent by providing financial support for projects that will increase economic growth, lead to population growth and enhance the region's brand identity. Northeast Indiana won the Regional Cities grant last year with its Road to One Million Plan, which outlines more than 70 projects and $1.5 billion in investment over the next 10 years.
Trine University officials had made a request for funding to the Northeast Indiana RDA in May, backed by officials from the city of Angola and Parkview Health, members of the university's board of trustees and state legislators. The city of Angola had agreed in April to support Trine's application for the funding and to provide in-kind support for the project.