In association with Jeff Speck, Stantec, Insight Strategic Concepts, Zimmerman Volk Associates, PlanningNext, and Development Concepts Inc., JPR worked with the City of Elkhart and the Community Foundation of Elkhart County to develop the Elkhart River District Vision and Implementation Plans. The City’s community vision started with developing a thriving urban, mixed-use, walkable community that is a downtown destination emphasizing the rivers and recreational amenities.
In April 2017, the River District planning team – utilizing the input of 25 private and public stakeholders – presented a River District Revitalization Vision Plan to the community. Immediately, Mayor Neese and the City Council commissioned a River District Implementation Team (RDIT) of 17 public-private members to complete the research, master design, acquisitions, development, and construction with an approved city investment of $30 million in public infrastructure and amenities. RDIT members represent all sectors of the community: city staff, local and national professional consultants, community and business leaders, investors, developers, and current property owners who regularly collaborate on all aspects of the plan.
Construction promptly ensued building four anchor projects, including a 200-unit apartment complex, state-of-the-art Elkhart Health & Aquatics center, a Jackson Boulevard signature streetscape, and a mixed-use project including a Martin’s Super Markets grocery store and housing for over 170 residential units.
The active private and public investments now exceed $170 million. Fifty percent of the 105-acre River District will be complete by 2022 and an additional $150 million of investment is anticipated to follow.
Additional projects in the District included access to downtown waterways, a contiguous Riverwalk path around the District, renewed park and town green, inviting and charming tree-lined walkable streets and boulevards, on-street parking, buried utilities, and a vibrant community of mixed-use activities ready for everyday social engagement.