15 projects approved by the RDA to give South Bend, Elkhart region uplift

On Tuesday, a power lunch was held at the Doubletree in South Bend to announce 15 city projects will soon start making a difference in the South Bend and Elkhart regions. Now, work on three of them is about to begin.

This project along with the others are what Regina Emberton, the head of Michiana Partnership, is summing up as: smart, connected, communities.

“Smart again is enhancing the technology that we’ve got here and innovation,” said Emberton.

Like renovating the Studebaker facade in South Bend, to make the downtown area visually more attractive and upgrading the transportation that connects multiple communities.

And then the connected it’s the South Shore connectivity to Chicago, but also connectivity by trails and rivers here in our region,” added Emberton.

And finally, enhancing the community experience by building a state-of-the-art aquatic and soccer complex in Marshall County.

“Communities is both the housing in our urban cores, but as well the amenities like health and fitness centers,” explained Emberton.

Emberton says these projects will take anywhere from 12 to 24 months to complete. The total budget for this initiative is $210 million---$42 million from the state, a matched grant from local public investments and an added $126 million from private investments.

“Downtown South Bend and downtown Elkhart are slated for projects to receive funding that would go into those types of developments,” said Emberton.

Lex Dennis, Chief Strategy Officer for enFocus, one of the approved projects, says these innovations will be much more than just simple improvements.

“With enhanced placement and enhanced quality of place and quality of life we can attract more young professionals to the area and really create that eco system of talent that will help drive this community forward,” said Dennis.

According to Emberton, these initiatives can attract those professionals to stay in the area.

“They would need both a great job opportunity but also the kind of community that they’d want to live in and the amenities that are required so that’s why the whole focus on vibrant urban cores is important,” she said. “We know this younger generation is looking for more walk-ability, more vibrancy and amenities in a closer distance.”

Funds for the remainder of the projects will be released as soon as they get approved by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

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