Mississippi mayor visiting South Bend to share ideas

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Mayor of Sunflower, Mississippi traveled over 700-miles to see what’s being done right in South Bend and what he can bring to his town.

Mayor Michael Pembleton met with South Bend leaders on Friday as part of his weekend visit as part of the Young Elected Officials Network.  The organization brings leaders from across the country together to discuss ideas and share different perspectives.

“I’m here to see what programs you all have going on here, what you all are doing as far as tourism and housing development,” Pembleton explained.  “That’s actually what brought me here to South Bend because I was very, very impressed with your work here in South Bend.”

Pembleton said the 3,500 people in Sunflower aren’t so different from those in South Bend.

"These are retired individuals who come from the Northern states such as Indiana,” he explained.  “They come from everywhere and come back to Sunflower to retire and I want to give them this life they have in these cities like South Bend."

Pembleton is specifically focusing on affordable housing, creating a vibrant downtown and developing tourism.

“Right now, I’m looking at the housing developments,” he explained.  “I’m looking at programs like that to implement in my retirement community where I can give affordable housing.”

The Sunflower Mayor was invited and is being hosted by South Bend Common Council Member Henry Davis, Jr.  Davis said beyond the benefits of exchanging ideas, Pembleton is also providing an outsiders view of the city.

"We don't have an opportunity to have a clear and objective look amongst the whole entire city,’ Davis described.  “We concentrate on things that are not happening or the negative viewpoints, rather than things that are happening or are positive."

Indeed, Pembleton said he saw some things quite differently than the average South Bend citizen.  For instance, he was very impressed by South Bend’s tallest building.

“The first thing I saw when I first came here was the Chase Building, the most beautiful building I've seen in a long time,” Pembleton described.  “The people here a great, the hospitality is great here, you have lot going on here in South Bend but sometimes you have to look outside and look back in.”

Pembleton will be visiting South Bend until Sunday.

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