South Bend Common Council approves mutiple revitalizing bills

NOW: South Bend Common Council approves mutiple revitalizing bills

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- On Monday night the South Bend Common Council discussed important bills to revitalize some areas of the city, as well as address concerning acts of antisemitism seen across the country, and here locally.

“It’s a shame that our society is experiencing this, but it’s the job of all of us to just make sure that we do not do anything to normalize this kind of behavior, and these types of attitudes,” says Council member Lori Hamaan, who presented the bill focused on denouncing antisemitism.

The adopted resolution comes after a call for extra patrols at local synagogues over the weekend and would condemn all acts of antisemitism and hate in every form.

It also encouraged local schools to provide education about the holocaust, as well as affirm the council’s commitment to cultivating a safe society for all residents.

With the vote, the city also adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism:

‘Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.’

A member of the Jewish Federation of Saint Joseph Valley used his own experiences with antisemitism to express support for the resolution.

“I personally dealt with three incidents in our local schools where Jewish students were targeted with antisemitic bullying,” says Bob Feferman from the Jewish Federation of Saint Joseph Valley. “Holocaust education does make a difference.”

The next two bills discussed in the meeting would create new housing and retail options near downtown South Bend.

The council approved rezoning for Marion Street to allow a new Burton’s Laundromat, a retail store, and five residential townhomes on what is now a vacant lot.

Developers of the $4 million project say the area has seen steady growth within the last decade, along with demands of more housing and neighborhood amenities. All nine councilmembers agreed the investment into the site would be beneficial to the neighborhood.

“It’s not an unreasonable zoning, I think it will help fit the rest of the future development of that site and put it in a good space,” says Councilwoman Sheila Niezgodski.

Lastly, the council approved an eight-year tax abatement to help transform the old, vacant, run-down building off of South Main Street into a 12-unit apartment complex.

Rents for three of the units will be capped for low-income families.

Petitioners call the building an ‘eyesore’ and say the tax breaks worth $213,000 will help them restore and expand the residential apartment building.

With tonight’s approval, developers hope to begin construction on the $2 million project in the next 90 days, and have it finished by the end of the year.

Share this article: