Health, Fitness and Aquatics
The "Elkhart Health Fitness Aquatics and Community Center" construction is underway. Sitting in the northwest corner of the district where the two rivers meet, this impressive $69.5MM project will open in March 2019. Included will be a regional competition aquatics center, a Beacon Health and Fitness Center, and a community gathering place.
Walkable Residential Living
RDIT hired Zimmerman/Volk and Associates - residential market analysts, who determined that based on Elkhart's migration patterns, there is justification to develop an additional 1,000 rented units in downtown Elkhart. 28,000 people choose to work yet not live in Elkhart each day. Qualitative data also supports that Elkhart needs desirable amenities and rented housing to meet our potential. The first project has been started by Flaherty and Collins of Indianapolis with 206 units named Stonewater at The Riverwalk.
Parks and Riverwalk Enhancements
Lundquist Park enhancements are being planned to accommodate residents and visitors of The Riverwalk. The Riverwalk will be expanded to complete a full 1.5 mile loop around The River District.
In addition, a Town Green will be a central outdoor gathering place on the east end of Jackson Boulevard, next to a future supermarket and residential site.
Starting April 2018, the Jackson Boulevard streetscape will be improved with preparation for wide sidewalks, bike lanes, turn lanes, attractive medians, and buried utilities. This will set the stage for a safe, walkable, urban environment for future residents.
2018-2019 additional streetscape upgrades will include Elkhart Avenue, Junior Achievement Drive and likely Lexington as important secondary thoroughfares in the district.
Click here to view entire streetscape design.
The US Army Corp. of Engineers requires the low flow dam be removed behind INOVA Federal Credit Union. This will consequently lower the flood plain and offer the opportunity to create water park amenities. This will includes a planned river launch site at the end of Junior Achievement Drive for water recreation such as kayaks.
Creating a welcoming and safe walkable environment begins with well-planned traffic control. Traffic studies support that Jackson Boulevard traffic mostly splits to north and south bound routes at Johnson/Prairie -- leaving only 9,000 cars per day traveling on Jackson between Main Street and Johnson/Prairie Street. Near-term intersection improvements at Jackson/Johnson (two westbound lanes on Jackson will turn north on Johnson starting October 2019) will help better transition traffic to their north/south destinations: primarily leading traffic to Middlebury and Cassopolis.
With increased activity in the River District, including the aquatics center (which can hold up to 16 weekend events per year, each with 500 visiting vehicles) -- parking is an important topic. RDIT wants to assure the residents, retailers, businesses, and visitors have experiences that meet their expectations. Possible solutions being explored include considerable increased street parking, expanded parking lots, bus routes between public parking areas, and smart parking directional technologies for events.
Jackson Boulevard will be a walkable featured street with bike lanes and attractive medians connecting Main and Johnson/Prairie Streets. This urban, mixed-use setting is enhanced by burying utilities to remove power lines along Jackson. Utilities on secondary streets will remain above ground.
District Maintenance and Facade Incentives
The RDIT budget includes funds to develop a proposed neighborhood association that will be charged with grounds maintenance throughout the district. Also, as afforded, funds are intended to be available to assist existing businesses with achieving compliance to the district zoning and overlay requirements.