READI Funds to Boost Recreation, Trails, and Wellness in the South Bend – Elkhart Region

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ELKHART, Ind. (Nov. 30, 2022) – On September 19, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Development Authority (RDA) approved Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) grant funding to support 18 quality of place projects. Of the 18, five are strategically focused on increasing recreation, trails, and wellness access and opportunities in the region, totaling over $5.6 million in READI allocated funds.

These projects include Bremen Sunnyside Park Improvements, Corson Riverwoods County Park, Harrison Street Trail, Mishawaka Fieldhouse, and Pumpkinvine Nature Trail Completion.

“The South Bend – Elkhart region is investing in its residents and in its future through projects like these,” said Kristin Pruitt, RDA Secretary-Treasurer and Chief Administrative Officer at Lake City Bank. “The projects will help create a better quality of place in the South Bend – Elkhart region, transforming communities across the region into vibrant destinations where residents and visitors can live, work, play and stay.

Bremen Sunnyside Park Improvements

Building on the existing strengths of Sunnyside Park in Bremen, the project improvement will resolve capacity issues while expanding year-round usage. New amenities include pickleball courts, fire pits, multilingual signage, and associated infrastructure.

  • Total Project Investment: $414,823
  • RDA Allocation: $82,965

“The Town of Bremen and the Bremen Parks Department are excited about our READI Grant Award,” said Trend Weldy, Director of Operations for the Town of Bremen. “The Bremen Pickleball Club – of over 100 members – represents a sport with players ages 10-80, a great diversity of ages and backgrounds. The club hosts several tournaments a year which draw 200-300 players from all over the Midwest. This will be a great way to show off Bremen and Bremen Parks with the new facility.”

Corson Riverwoods County Park

Corson Riverwoods County Park is an 81.5-acre Elkhart County Park whose READI project will create an active green space to benefit visitors’ health while providing environmental education. Park features will include an accessible pollinator themed play path along a mile of trail, prairie and forest restoration, picnic areas, modern restroom, plus protection of over a mile of cold-water trout stream. The park will be a destination for families, field trips, neighbors, and people across the region.

  • Total Project Investment: $789,500
  • RDA Allocation: $153,035

“The Elkhart County Park and Recreation Board is honored to be supported with a READI grant to help create recreational elements at the upcoming Corson Riverwoods County Park,” said Ronda DeCaire, Director of Parks. “We look forward to the day families will discover and learn along the Pollinator Play Path and explore nature through the restored woodlands and prairies along the Little Elkhart River.”

Harrison Street Trail

The Harrison Street Trail project will create an 8-foot-wide paved trail connecting the Oak Drive commercial corridor to the west to Magnetic Park/Conservation Clubhouse and the existing Greenways Trail network to the east. The project is a major quality of place enhancement for the city, connecting residents in several neighborhoods within a federally Qualified Census Tract to the city’s larger investment trailways and green spaces. This project is part of the five-year Marshall County Trails Master Plan approved in 2021.

  • Total Project Investment: In excess of $720,000
  • RDA Allocation: $144,000

“Plymouth recognizes the important role of trails in building a connected, accessible, and complete transportation network,” said Sean Surrisi, Plymouth City Attorney and Complete Streets Committee Member. “The Harrison Street Trail will link several neighborhoods to our existing trail system, enhancing the quality of life for Plymouth residents.”

Mishawaka Fieldhouse

The 225,000 square foot, $38 million Mishawaka Fieldhouse and athletic complex will create a regional destination for recreation, tourism and economic development. READI funds will support Phase I building of the Fieldhouse, containing 10 basketball courts (20 volleyball courts) and 2 turf fields for indoor sports play, along with retail and concession space. Centrally located off I-90 and between Elkhart and St. Joseph counties, this facility – large enough to host national youth sports tournaments under one roof and featuring premium equipment for the general public – is poised to respond to the large and growing travel team and youth tournament market in Northern Indiana and surrounding states.

  • Total Project Investment: $82.46 million
  • RDA Allocation: $5.2 million

“Card & Associates is grateful for the RDA’s support of the Mishawaka Fieldhouse. We are eager to become part of the Mishawaka community and work alongside the other READI projects,” said Andy Card, Card & Associates CEO. “Mishawaka Fieldhouse will generate economic impact, attract talent and tourists, and ensure a wonderful quality of life.”

Pumpkinvine Nature Trail Completion

Friends of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail has collaborated with governmental partners over the past 32 years to convert 17 miles of the former Pumpkin Vine Railroad into a multi-use linear park and trail. A half-mile gap in connectivity exists between County Roads 35 and 20 in Middlebury, sending trail visitors out on to busy, high-speed, shoulder-less roads. This project eliminates this gap through construction of a 10 ft. wide, paved path, providing users with a safe and comfortable way to travel between the connected communities of Elkhart, Goshen, Middlebury, and Shipshewana.

  • Total Project Investment: $849,390
  • RDA Allocation: $100,000

“The Pumpkinvine Trail is a stellar example of private and public cooperation,” said Phil Mason, Board Chair for Friends of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. “The financial assistance provided by the READI funds will help us close this final gap and finish the work started 32 years ago. The Pumpkinvine Trail is not only a valuable multi-use path for Michiana, but one that attracts visitors from across the country and globe.”

Launched by Gov. Holcomb and led by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), READI encourages regional collaboration and data-driven, long-term planning that will attract and retain talent in Indiana. The $500 million READI fund was passed by legislation during the 2021 session and was divided among 17 regions. The IEDC awarded the maximum grant amount of $50 million each to five of the regions, including the South Bend – Elkhart region. Awards for the other regions ranged from $5 to 30 million.

For more information about the South Bend – Elkhart region’s READI grant, click here.

To learn more about the READI grant program, click here.

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About 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 South Bend – Elkhart 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 South Bend – Elkhart 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.

About the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Development Authority (RDA)

Formed in 2015, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Development Authority (RDA) represents the three Indiana counties of Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph. The RDA is overseen by a five-member board, each appointed by the mayors and commissioners of member counties and municipalities. The RDA is committed to the continued improvement of the South Bend – Elkhart region and receives staffing support from the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, the lead regional economic development organization for the region. For more information about RDA, click here.

Media Contacts

Bremen Sunnyside Park Improvements
Trend Weldy
director@townofbremen.org

Corson Riverwoods County Park
Ronda DeCaire
rdecaire@elkhartcounty.com

Harrison Street Trail
Sean Surrisi
cityattorney@plymouthin.com

Mishawaka Fieldhouse
Billy Bunkowfst
wbunkowfst@cardandassoc.com

Pumpkinvine Nature Trail Completion
Phil Mason
phild_mason@yahoo.com

South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
Sarah Niespodziany
sniespodziany@southbendelkhart.org