Over the years, the City of Elkhart has undertaken many major downtown beautification projects, one of which is the Elkhart Riverwalk. This trail system runs through downtown Elkhart along the Elkhart River, and JPR has been continuously involved throughout the entire life of this project – from survey, permitting, and right-of-way acquisition assistance, to design and inspection.
Hired as the design firm for the area known as the Elkhart Riverwalk Commons, JPR took on numerous challenges such as contending with riverbank erosion, a dam spillway, and a major bridge. In addition, planning the path to go under the Elkhart Avenue bridge required complex engineering and major utility relocations, and JPR designed for a future pedestrian bridge crossing at the spillway. Decorative concrete, lighting, and pedestrian amenities were also added.
The very north portion of the trail is at the confluence of the St. Joseph and Elkhart Rivers. Designing within a floodway at the junction of two fast moving rivers required special erosion control measures; JPR engineered a special glacial stone bank treatment and segmented block wall to account for this. This portion also incorporated a significant environmental component in that it included aquatic habitat enhancements and native plantings.