Elkhart’s River District Implementation Plan receives international merit award for planning

ELKHART - Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese announced today that the City’s River District Implementation Plan has received a Merit Award for Planning by the International Downtown Association (IDA). The award recognizes planning efforts that have established a strategic position for downtown, and that include elements of the plan that have already been approved, ratified, and implemented. 

“With the streetscape work underway and continued construction on anchor redevelopment projects, we are able to see the short-term progress towards a more walkable, residential downtown destination; however, the true benefits of this transformation will be felt for decades to come,” Neese said. “At this early stage in development, it is extremely rewarding to see our plan garnering international recognition. I want to thank the River District Implementation Team (RDIT) for helping to keep Elkhart competitive and also thank the City Council and the public for their support of these efforts.”

Elkhart was one of only six communities in the U.S. to receive this award, joining the ranks of much larger cities including Cedar Rapids, Dallas, and Des Moines. Dave Weaver, RDIT Chair, attended the IDA award presentation in San Antonio, Texas. 

“The RDIT members, including our Elkhart business leaders and city staff, have been diligently working together and meeting every two weeks since spring 2017 about every detail of this project. Trees, lights, street designs, traffic flow, and mixed-use redevelopment projects aimed at generating revenue for the city’s long-term sustainability are all regular topics of discussion,” Weaver said. “Everyone truly cares about this project being a success for Elkhart and it matters that we involve the necessary experts to get this right. We thank everyone involved for their hard work and commitment. This award is just one symbol of well-deserved recognition for what public-private partnerships can achieve in creating the change needed to fulfill a vision for our community’s future growth.”

The IDA is a world leader and champion for vital and livable urban centers. Their annual Downtown Achievement Awards recognize outstanding improvements to downtown by the work of dedicated individuals around the globe. 

To learn more about the 2018 Downtown Achievement Award and view Elkhart’s winning submission, visit www.ida-downtown.org/eweb/. To learn more about the River District project, visit www.elkhartriverdistrict.com

The River District Implementation Team is comprised of the following:

David Weaver, Chair
President, Kem Krest Corporation

Bob Deputy
Bill Deputy Foundation

Pete McCown 
President, Community Foundation of Elkhart County

 Brian Smith
CEO, Heritage Financial Group

Crystal Welsh, City Coordination
City of Elkhart, Director of Development Services

Jamie Arce
City of Elkhart, Deputy Controller

David Henke
Common Council Member, Finance Committee Chair

Tory Irwin
City of Elkhart Utility Engineer

Mike Machlan
City of Elkhart, City Engineer

Jeff Schaffer
City of Elkhart, Right-of-Way Engineer



Professional services have also been provided by: 

Shelley Moore, Project Lead
President, ISC Community Development

Scott Ford, Associate Vice President for Economic Development
University of Notre Dame

Eric Shields, Economic Development Advisor
Cardinal Strategies

Ken Jones and Chris Chockley, Engineering Advisors
Jones Petrie Rafinski 

Andy Myers, Directing Broker
Myers Trust Real Estate

Jeff Speck, Urban Planner
Speck & Associates

David Dixon, Urban Advisor
President, Stantec

Laurie Volk, Residential Market Analyst
Partner,  Zimmerman Volk