Tri-State economic agencies merge in southwest Ind.

Tri-State economic agencies merge in southwest Ind.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A trio of economy focused entities are joining forces.

Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville, Southwest Indiana Chamber and Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana announced a merger Friday.

This formation started to take shape back in the fall and its commitment is to continue growing the four-county region. Infrastructure improvements, such as the I-69 Ohio River crossing project which will build another bridge connecting Indiana to Kentucky, are pivotal to development.

“Connecting both sides of the river,” Economic Development Coalition CEO Greg Wathen explained. “It’s one market and connecting that. It’s the one final piece that connects all of Interstate 69 through our entire region.”

Merger collaborations are expected to begin Monday morning.

“We’re competing against a big globe out there,” Southwest Indiana Chamber CEO Tara Barney stated. “Everything we can do to set ourselves forward with our particular strengths and the secret sauce that makes up our geography is all for the better.”

Staffing will include two dozen employees to help handle those who are considering coming to southwest Indiana.

“Sometimes, though, what happens is you don’t always know who do you talk to, especially from the outside,” Wathen added. So, I think this will make it a lot easier for us.”

Friday’s announcement comes after 120-plus collective members of boards voted to approve it.

“Not just the talents of our staff, but the resources that this community puts towards this work and aggregate it into an organization that can be really well prepared to represent this region,” Barney shared.

Focus areas including business, community institutions and residents.

Each of the three organizations are already housed in the same Main Street building in Evansville, but the idea is to have each of them on the same floor within Innovation Point.

Copyright 2021 WFIE. All rights reserved.