Plans for major South Shore Line renovations, nearby residents show concern

NOW: Plans for major South Shore Line renovations, nearby residents show concern

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The South Shore Line is on track for some major renovations and improvements soon.

“Everybody here in Saint Joseph County, Elkhart County, South Bend area will be able to take advantage of increased opportunities for train service,” says the President of the South Shore Line, Michael Noland.

Not only will the project provide a new, modern waiting platform for passengers, but it will put that platform onto the airport’s west side, rather than stay on the east side where it sits now.

South Shore officials say this will increase safety and reduce travel time.

“The opportunity to get this service from two hours and 30 minutes down to 90-minute commute time is huge,” Noland says.

This is good news for those who utilize the South Shore for their work commute, but for those that live in the area right near the airport, not so much.

“I don’t like the idea that they’re going to wreck our area,” says Vicki Hartgrove, an Ardmore Neighborhood resident.

Residents of Ardmore Neighborhood turned out to Wednesday’s public meeting to discuss their concerns about the project impacting their homes.

For some, the project will place the tracks practically in their yards. Others will need to find somewhere else to live altogether.

“I just think it’s wrong that they can buy up property whenever they want to to make things the way they want it and don’t care about anyone having to uproot and move,” Hartgrove explains.

“You just feel like you’re being held hostage because you just, you have no clue,” says another who lives near the airport, Gary Mayfield.

For Mayfield, it’s more than just about losing his home. It’s about the future of his annual Christmas light show that the community looks forward to every Christmas season. Now, it’s up in limbo.

“We’ll have to move, I’ll have to find another home, I’ll have to redo all the prop and do all the programming and stuff to fit that home, so it’ll be a lot of work if this happens,” shares Mayfield.

South Shore President Michael Noland hopes to address resident’s concerns and answer their questions by being transparent about the project.

“You only undertake those projects if they have significant benefit, the greater good that can impact a tremendous amount of people over the next hundred years,” explains Noland. “That’s what this project is.”

He adds that they still have a lot of engineering and environmental work to complete first before they can request additional funds form the new infrastructure bill that just passed in Congress. He says best case scenario, construction on the project will begin in late 2024 or early 2025 and a completion date sometime in 2026.

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