Road to One Million large crowd gathering celebration with flag

Road to One Million Regional Development Plan

Greater Fort Wayne, Indiana

Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership is a regional economic development organization focused on shaping the economic future of the Fort Wayne area to achieve transformative growth and success.



Following the launch of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative, Fourth Economy was retained by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership to create their Regional Development Plan. Plans had to comply with guidelines established by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Winning plans would be awarded $42 million in matching state funding to support implementation. 



In order to facilitate broad community partnership around the vision and opportunities in the region, our team held meetings in all 11 counties to gather ideas, analyzed data on the region’s opportunities and challenges, and created a process for stakeholders to reach consensus on a slate of projects. For each identified project, we worked with the project lead to gather data on budget, funding sources, timeline, and return on investment. The final plan coalesced around a vision of growing the region to 1 million residents by creating connections to nature, community, culture, and ideas.



Ultimately the final strategy identified more than $1.5 billion in place-based investments. Our team worked with the advisory board to prioritize 38 projects, valued at $400 million, for short-term investment. The Road to One Million plan was one of three successful bidders in the Regional Cities Initiative and was awarded $42 million in state funds. In the first year alone, the region committed over $255 million in public and private investment to implement projects across 10 counties.



Economic Development Strategy





Economic Development Organization


From my direct interaction with Rich and his team, we derived significant benefit from their broad experience, research capabilities and adept interaction with our diverse base of stakeholders. Their past experiences and depth of knowledge have distinguished their clients in unique and beneficial ways. Candidly, in our case, there were two or three distinguishing advantages of our region which enabled a successful outcome. Fourth Economy’s contribution was one of those difference-makers in our successful grant request.

-John Sampson, President & CEO
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership