As one of just five members of the Northeast East Regional Partnership group’s Regional Development Authority, which in the coming months will weed its way through a voluminous list of community improvement projects proposed throughout the 11 counties that comprise the partnership group, Andrew Briggs is eager to roll up his sleeves and tackle that responsibility. Briggs, president of the Bank of Geneva, has been involved with the NE Indiana Regional Partnership team almost since its inception. His term as a board member will end next week, but
Briggs’ commitment to the region will be unaffected by that move. “I’m a big believer in regionalism,” Briggs said Thursday evening during a gala event to celebrate the partnership’s recent receipt of $42 million from the state of Indiana to fund assorted community improvement projects throughout the region. “I’ve always felt that you can hang together or hang separately,” said Briggs. “For a long time this part of Indiana has been ignored. But there are some real visionaries in our region and we had an impressive presentation to the state. People have opened their minds and their wallets” to the
importance of banding together as a region for the greater good of all involved, Briggs added. Now that the NE Indiana Regional Partnership has been approved for funding, Briggs said the timeline for communities to submit formal applications for inclusion in the project funding list will
move quickly. “We have to have $42 million spent in two years,” Briggs said. “There’s a lot of paperwork involved. Applicants are going to have to have their groundwork done and their funding already lined up” for local projects. The money being provided by the state
will provide matching dollars for projects that ultimately make the final cut. “It’s about quality of life and quality of place,” said Briggs. “Our goal is to attract and retain talent … to have our kids — the millenials — stay or come back to Northeast Indiana.”
John Sampson, president and CEO of the Regional Partnership group, said the next 60 days are crucial as Regional Development Authority members prioritize and finalize the list of projects that will be submitted for approval by the Indiana Department of Economic Development. “We are begging your patience,” Sampson told the crowd assembled Thursday night at the Grand Wayne Ballroom in Fort Wayne. “We have a lot of details to work through.” Since its founding more than 130 years ago, the Bank of Geneva has never had a major change in management. Andrew Briggs is a descendent of Andrew G. Briggs, one of the bank’s original founders. The bank has current locations in Geneva, Monroe, Berne, Decatur and Portland.