Elkhart Redevelopment Commission selects design team for Central Plaza project

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(Krystal Vivian/Federated Media)

The Elkhart Redevelopment Commission has selected a design team for a placemaking project on the Civic Plaza and Central Park in downtown Elkhart.

Rundell Ernstberger Associates will work with city staff and the community to develop a design for the space that creates a vibrant civic gathering place.

“In just three years, we went from hosting five downtown events to over 50,” said Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese. “With so much activity and investment in the area, it has prompted an important discussion about how we utilize the Central Plaza and how it serves as the center of downtown activity. My vision for a revitalized downtown is a modern area, with additional public and private amenities, that accommodates large events as well as daily social engagement. The design must appeal to residents and visitors of all ages and give them a reason to visit the park year-round.”

REA specializes in providing urban design, landscape architecture, planning, and civil engineering services. The firm has worked with the City of Elkhart for many years on various planning and economic development initiatives, including the 2017 update to the City’s Central Business District Development and Design Standards.

“I am excited by the opportunity to hear from residents and incorporate their feedback in a transformational project that reflects our unique identity and encourages private investment in adjacent areas,” Neese said. “Placemaking is the future of economic development and plays an undeniable role in talent attraction and retention. It is important that residents feel connected to local parks and want to provide feedback that will help improve their quality of life and the City as a whole.”

The Redevelopment Commission expects a total budget of $1.5 million for this project, inclusive of all expenses and paid by the downtown Tax Increment Financing revenue.

The planning process will begin in September and is anticipated to take three to four months to complete.

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