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Mayor recommends downtown South Shore Line station, council wants to be kept in the loop

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Stakeholders in the South Shoreline station gave recommendations to the South Bend Common Council on Monday for where it should be built.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg recommended the station be built in Downtown South Bend. He said it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“There are no easy answers,” he said. “We have a once in a generation opportunity to potentially restore rail service to downtown, as we once had when it came to the South Shore.”

South Shore Line President Mike Noland and South Bend International Airport Executive Director Mike Daigle recommended the station be built west from SBN, which cuts through the Ardmore neighborhood.

“The fact that the airport authorities still want to build a freight terminal and move the terminal to the west side of the airport leaves a lot of questions in our minds,” said Karen Kazmierzak, who lies in the Ardmore neighborhood. “It doesn’t take the worry away from us at all.”

District 2 Common Councilwoman Regina Williams-Preston told Mayor Buttigieg she loved that he suggested the city needed more input and more time, however, said there hasn’t been much done in terms of community engagement.

“What kinds of plans do you have, in terms of engagement with community members,” she asked the mayor. “Like I haven’t been a part of this conversation, and all the sides are in my district.”

Other councilmembers, including District 6’s Oliver Davis Jr., raised questions about the recommendations and said there should be a separate meeting in order to keep councilmembers in the loop. Several councilmembers expressed they could not ask or comment on the recommendations, as they did not have enough information available to them.

“What has been your efforts to reach out to the South Bend Common Council,” Davis asked Daigle, who asked what for. “For anything.”

Davis said he would like to see the depot be built near the Honeywell plant, in order to create positive growth.

“We all have to come together, because each entity has their different goals that they need to put together,” he said.

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