There are a number of exciting projects happening in South Bend, many which are located along the banks of the St. Joseph River. This planning process will ensure that our riverfront parks and trails are appropriately protected and integrated as the nearly $100 million dollars of development projects unfold in the next two years. The final plan will help guide a number of park upgrades that are planned for in the next few years, including the new Howard Park Ice Rink and Seitz Park improvements.


Ultimately, the Riverfront Parks & Trails design work should:

  • Reinforce trail and park system as a network of facilities
  • Ensure multifunctional and unique public open space to serve local needs
  • Embrace ecological values associated with the corridor
  • Embrace South Bend’s cultural diversity in the planning process
  • Reinforce neighborhood connectivity with the river parks
  • Establish design standards for the entire system
  • Establish designs for key priority locations


Our river has always been an anchor for the City of South Bend. For decades, we used it to power our manufacturing companies, such as Singer's Sewing Co. and the Oliver Chilled Plow Company. Today, the river has become a source of recreation and interaction -- a place where we hold festivals, where children play and adults can relax.

The first comprehensive park plan in South Bend was by George Kessler in 1912. For the first time in generations, we are very excited to start looking deeper into how we can develop the river further to fit our community's current and future needs.

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