What does this project mean for the City?
This is a chance for us to take a look at the entire park system. It allows us to connect our trail system heading north up to Niles and east through Elkhart. The trails system could have significant impact on perception of South Bend for community members.
Some main desires for a city are its means of amenities, services, connectedness, and security. With this process, we hope to improve upon these components and provide our residents with greater economic growth, sense of place, and quality of leisure.
Whether your priority for our Riverfront Parks & Trails is being provided with more places for recreational activities, or just the safety of yourself and others, this process is underway to enhance the South Bend experience.
Which parks will this affect?
The planning process includes the entire length of the St. Joseph River that is within the City of South Bend, from Darden Road to Logan Street. However, there will be a focus on the parks and trails found between Leeper Park and the Farmers Market. The entire stretch of the river connects to 19 parks and 4 trails. Eleven of those parks and two trails fall within the focus area between Leeper Park and the Farmers Market. You can view a map and list of the parks and trails on the Parks & Recreation Department website.
How is the City paying for this?
Fortunately, the City has some resources available to assist with implementing the ideas we come up with as part of this process. The city has already set aside $1.5 million to rebuild an ice-skating rink in Howard Park. The City has been awarded $5 million as part of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative to make improvements to the parks and trail system in downtown. Also, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians has agreed to contribute $2.2 million toward Howard Park improvements.
How does the public get involved?
The public is encouraged to attend the community meetings and share their thoughts about the future of the riverfront parks and trails. There will be four meetings as part of the process. The first meeting concluded on Thursday, September 8th. The second concluded on Wednesday, November 2nd. Stay tuned for information on the third forum! Also, we appreciate all feedback and suggestions.
How long will this process take?
The overall design process will continue into late spring 2017. However, the design of a couple key projects, like the Howard Park Ice Rink, will be pushed forward so the city can complete engineering work and hopefully have some of the projects starting up next spring/summer.
What will be the first results we will see from this effort?
The rebuilding of the ice-skating rink and other improvements toward Howard Park are some of this first results we will see with this process.
Who are the consultants? Why did we pick them?
SmithGroup JJR, is an integrated architecture, engineering, and planning firm with 10 locations in the U.S., Europe and China. Their experience has taken them across the nation from New England to California and from the Great Lakes to Texas. They coordinated the Detroit Riverwalk and the Marquette Plan for the 46 miles of Lake Michigan coastline along Northwest Indiana.
Aaron Perri, Executive Director of South Bend’s Park and Recreation Department said, “SmithGroup JJR was ultimately chosen by a selection committee due to their extensive expertise in park and waterfront design as well as their strong plan for community involvement in the process”.