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Changes for the Near Northwest Neighborhood community, a sign of progress and growth

An open house Saturday at the Near Northwest Neighborhood Center, showcased the changing times, and the changing community. Neighbors say, it's a long time coming. 

The exhibit showed new housing plans for the area, but for residents, it means so much more.

"I think it's been one of the best thing to happen in this neighborhood, in the near 20 years I've lived here," says Nedd Green, one of the 6,000 people living in the Near Northwest Neighborhood in South Bend.

He's one of the countless who stopped by the neighborhood center, wanting to learn more about the changing coming to his community.

Changes he thinks are long overdue.

"It's needed. It's very needed and very viable," adds Green.

Changes like tiny homes and sustainable houses that are going to be built, in an effort to draw in new, and more, people.

"We're trying what we call sustainable development," explains Mike Keen. "Development that is going to be ecologicxally friendly, economically sound, but is also socially inclusive and equitable.

Keen is the Principal of Thrive Michiana, a group determined to make South Bend an even better place. 

But they're doing it a different way.

"What we don't want to do is just gentrify it, so that all we do is bring in a lot of fairly affluent people, and push out the diversity that's already here," he adds. 

Keen believes one of the best things about the area, is the diversity.  

That's one of the many reasons his company chose to build in this neighborhood. 

"We want to celebrate the people who are already here, embrace that, and continue to maintain it," he says. "Because that's what we think that makes a stronger community. A community where we all live together."

It's a community that appreciates the progress the city has seen over the past few years.

"I look forward to having new vitality and new generations, new ethnic groups, new nationalities, to bring better flavor in the neighborhood," says Green. 

All are hoping the success continues in future years.

"People are really starting to love this neighborhood," adds Green.  "There's no end. There's absolutely no end to where we could go. We could end up being the most thriving community in the city in a short amount of time."

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