Tuesday meeting to discuss future of Western Avenue
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The City of South Bend will present plans for the next phase of the Western Avenue streetscape improvement project at a meeting on Tuesday.
Michael DiVita, the principal planner with South Bend’s Department of Community Investment, says the project continues streetscape improvements completed on Western Avenue in 2015 and 2017.
Enhancements will be made to a four-block stretch of Western Avenue between Falcon and Dundee Streets. The city would build curbs and sidewalks, repave streets, improve water main and sewer services, plants trees, and add lighting and bike racks.
“The infrastructure there is pretty beat up right now, so it’s really to set the stage to make this area much more inviting to commercial and residential investment, so not only would it have a robust infrastructure, but it sets the stage for a kind of vibrant neighborhood there,” said DiVita.
The $2.7 million project needs the City of South Bend’s Redevelopment Commission’s approval. DiVita says the commission will decide whether to appropriate the needed funds at a meeting on May 23.
If passed, construction is scheduled to start in mid-to-late June and last until mid-November.
“[It] just encourages further growth and creates some excitement for a place where people want to be,” said DiVita. “We’ve seen in the first couple of phases, a change in attitude of how that area is viewed. [It’s now viewed] much more to the positive side.”
Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, the city will be presenting the proposal at the LaSalle Park Neighborhood Alliance's monthly meeting on Tuesday. The public meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Charles Black Recreation Center.
Henry Davis Jr., president of of the alliance, says the community group pushed for the project's improvements.
DiVita says this is one last chance for people to learn about the project and give their feedback.
Cindy Cummins lives near Western Avenue.
“The new half looks, you know, appealing and people want to be there, going to those stores and a lot of the buildings have been redone, so it’s kind of uplifting,” said Cummins. “The other half is not barren but in need of help it’s kind of like going from sunlight to darkness.”
She thinks the project would be a good investment.
“It’s going to, more people will be involved, they will appreciate it and probably take more care of their own properties and just make it feel like a community,” said Cummins.
For additional information or project updates, residents can contact the City of South Bend Department of Community Investment at (574)235-5843 or visit southbendin.gov/planning-community-resources/.