SOUTH BEND, Ind. (Aug. 26, 2020) -- Last week, Indiana Secretary of Commerce, Jim Schellinger visited the South Bend – Elkhart region to tour some of the Regional Cities Initiative projects that have been completed or are currently under construction.
Accompanied by South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership (Regional Partnership) President and CEO and Regional Development Authority Administrator, Regina Emberton, Schellinger toured 300 East Lasalle (Commerce Center) and Howard Park in South Bend, and The Mill at Ironworks Plaza and Ball Band Biergarten in Mishawaka.
These four projects and 22 others were recommended for funding by the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Development Authority (RDA) and are part of the region’s Smart Connected Communities Plan, which was awarded $42 million in state grant funding to support projects located in Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph counties. Totaling nearly $400 million in quality of place investments, 18 of the projects are complete, four are currently under construction, and four more are in the planning phase.
"We could not be more enthusiastic about the transformations happening across the South Bend – Elkhart region,” said Regina Emberton. “Talent Attraction and Retention is one of five main initiatives of the Regional Partnership as we work to transform negative out-migration that is common in the Midwest to positive in-migration. Having the ability to offer both great jobs and a vibrant quality of life is really making a difference in the population numbers of our region - we’re heading in the right direction!"
300 East LaSalle, a $49.3 million development, awarded $4.9 million in Regional Cities funding is currently under construction and will offer 144 residential units and 30,000 square feet of commercial space to accommodate a grocer and pharmacy in the East Bank Village of downtown South Bend.
Also located in South Bend’s East Bank Village is the South Bend Blue Ways project. Receiving $5 million in Regional Cities funding, the South Bend Blue Ways project is a series of public amenities and mixed-use developments which include Howard Park. As part of the project, Howard Park built a mixed-use event center, signature 13,000 sq. ft. playground, interactive water fountains and jets, and a 16,000 sq. ft. ice-skating trail and pond.
"It's amazing what's happened up here in the central region with the Regional Cities initiative," said Schellinger during an interview with abc57. "I’m so impressed with the whole region, Elkhart County, St. Joseph County, Marshall County, you told us what you were going to do, and you've done exactly that."
Setting the tone for downtown Mishawaka, The Mill at Ironworks Plaza (The Mill) consists of 232 luxury market rate apartment homes and 13,213 square feet of retail. The project, which received $5.26 million in Regional Cities funding, opened in the fall of 2019. In addition to the residential occupants, Jack’s Donuts and Kalon Hair Lab have moved into the project.
During the project’s groundbreaking ceremony in 2017, Mayor of Mishawaka, David Wood said, “This project will be transformational to our historic downtown,” and he was correct. The Mill continues to enhance downtown Mishawaka and has helped to increase social connectivity in one of the South Bend – Elkhart region’s urban cores.
Another great addition to the downtown area is the Ball Band Biergarten, perfectly positioned between the new Mill at Ironworks Plaza and Beutter Riverfront Park, this project received $114,000 in Regional Cities funding and opened on July 4, 2020.
The South Bend – Elkhart Region was one of three Indiana regions selected to receive state funding through the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative, which will allocate a total of $126 million toward 100 quality of place projects totaling more than $2 billion in combined state, local and private investment in order to retain and attract top talent to the Hoosier state.
About the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. The Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: Educating a world-class WORKFORCE, Recruiting and retaining great TALENT, Attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing INDUSTRIES, Promoting INCLUSION and sparking opportunities for minorities and Helping ENTREPRENEURS thrive. The Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually. For more information about the Regional Partnership, visit SouthBendElkhart.org.