The Process


The Regional Cities of Northern Indiana initiative serves every citizen and business organization of Elkhart, Marshall and St. Joseph Counties through a commitment to pursuing transformational economic development projects and strategic initiatives for the entire three-county region. Since November 2014, the Regional Cities of Northern Indiana has engaged business, philanthropic, academic and government leaders from Indiana communities across Elkhart, Marshall and St. Joseph Counties in the planning process. In doing so, a group formed that leverages the vast experience and services of Northern Indiana's leading business, academic, philanthropic and government leaders.


  • November 2014: Kickoff meeting to introduce the region to the RCI initiative drew more than 200 people, the most of any region, to learn more.
  • Over 40 regional leaders interviewed, including Steering and Strategy Committee members, to collect their input on the region’s opportunities and challenges and potential project ideas.
  • Early March 2015: First round of public input sessions conducted to collect ideas and feedback from the public about possible projects. Sessions were held in four counties, and more than 100 people participated.
  • March 2015: St. Joseph County Chamber’s Salute to Business luncheon, attended by 800 community leaders, featured the Regional Cities effort as the keynote address.
  • March 19, 2015: Project leaders updated the public about the status of the region’s RCI efforts at a public meeting.
  • Early April 2015: The second round of public input sessions was conducted to present a refined list of project ideas and begin developing project applications for the regional development plan. Sessions were held in three counties, and nearly 100 people participated. Following these sessions, 45 project applications were submitted online from around the region for consideration in the plan.
  • April 14, 2015: The University of Notre Dame hosted elected officials throughout the region to provide an update on the RCNI initiative and to discuss the Regional Development Authority (RDA).
  • Early June 2015: With near unanimous support, the Elkhart, Marshall and St. Joseph County commissioners voted to adopt the ordinance to establish the RDA.
  • Early June 2015: A focus group meeting with 15 private-sector executives validated the RCNI vision and goals.
  • Late June 2015: The five-member RDA board was appointed by written agreement of the executives of the RDA members, and the members endorsed the regional development plan.