Plans to fix East Bank Trail after flood damage

NOW: Plans to fix East Bank Trail after flood damage

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- South Bend will spend nearly 3.2 million dollars to transform the East Bank Trail, not only because of weather damage but to also make the trail safer and more accessible.

The goal of the project is to use the trails to connect neighborhoods together and bring more of a community feel to the city.

The improvements will follow a three-part plan to repair portions of the trail damaged from flooding, re-stabilize the banks and add in more naturalized planting and add in a new accessible trail.

“Not only connecting us to one another, but connecting our neighborhoods to one another,” said Aaron Perri, Executive Director of Venues Parks and Arts. “It provides for better public safety, better access and it really just makes it a healthier community overall.”

The current trail is paved but still is not accessible to strollers, bikes or wheelchairs.

“None of this has been accessible,” said Perri. “It was really difficult to take a stroller or ride a bike down here. So for the first time ever we’ll have some really robust connectivity along the river front.”

The East Bank Trail improvements are a part of a five year plan that costs dozens of millions of dollars, according to Perri.

The goal of the long-term plan is to improve South Bend’s neighborhood parks, going towards everything from fixing up a children’s playground to upgrading restrooms. In this case, the goal is to make the East Bank Trail safer and more accessible.

“It feels like a safer option, rather than just riding down the streets or walking down the streets,” said Debbie Kulwicki, a South Bend resident.

The improvements could even increase property value, according to Perri.

“Even though the town is right here, you’re by the river and it’s just very relaxing…very nice area,” said Debbie Kulwicki.

People of all ages will now have a new and improved place to ride bikes and enjoy the river views.

“It’s going to add more to do and in the spring time when it’s warmed up I assume it’ll be really busy,” said Cain Kulwicki, a Mishawaka resident. “I assume it’ll be working out and it’ll be popular…good add-on.”

The trail is expected to be completed by the end of the summer or the beginning of fall.

You can keep up with the park improvements in your own neighborhood here.

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