Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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April 10, 2013

Two housing ideas pitched for millrace property

GOSHEN —  When it comes to the proposed redevelopment of the millrace, the Goshen Redevelopment Commission has some tough decisions to make over the next 30 days.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the RDC, commission members were presented with two distinct proposals for the proposed River Race Redevelopment, a huge, multi-faceted redevelopment project which includes areas along the millrace such as the old Northern Indiana Public Service Co. building and the old Hawks building.

Millrace Neighborhood

First to be presented Tuesday was what is being called the “Millrace Neighborhood” concept being championed by Goshen residents Mary Meyer and Richard Miller with the assistance of Alan Ediger, senior designer with Interface Architecture and Design of Goshen.

According to Miller, the Millrace Neighborhood concept draws primarily from an idea known as “cohousing”, a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods.

Through cohousing, the physical design of the neighborhood encourages both social contact and individual space. Private homes contain all the features of conventional homes, but residents also have access to extensive common facilities. Connectivity to the nearby farmers market, parks and downtown were also highly stressed.

As for what the proposed Millrace Neighborhood might look like, Ediger began by presenting what the group is calling its conceptual master plan. Through the plan, the millrace area would be split into two parcels, parcel A and parcel B. Parcel A would contain the majority of the cohousing development area, while parcel B would include a smaller distribution of individual and multi-family homes.

In designing the proposal, both Ediger and Miller said one of their biggest goals was to ensure that the new development meshes with the overall feel of the surrounding area and does not clash with neighborhoods already located near the development site.

“One of the things we’ve tried to do is make this an extension of the surrounding neighborhood,” Miller said.

To do that, Miller said the development would likely be limited to a maximum of 16 units, though he added that there will be opportunities for customization through things such as porches, windows, columns, railings, etc. The size of the homes will also add a touch of variety to the site, he said, noting that homes will likely range anywhere from 1,000 square feet up to several thousand square feet.

Sustainability was also a big factor for the group. Using local workers and buying local was also a big priority of the group.

“One of the things I think is very important to this process in this area is to buy local,” Miller said. “We need to be more cognizant of where we purchase items. Our intent is to source our vendors and subcontractors from this community.”

Millrace Townhomes and Flats

Next to be presented was a proposal by David Matthews of South Bend-based Matthews LLC entitled “Millrace Townhomes and Flats”.

According to Matthews, his proposal, like its title says, focuses more on a townhome or townhouse style of construction along the millrace.

That said, Matthews noted that he has found it very important that the viability of urban housing relies on the ability for families to grow and change without having to relocate. Along those lines, Matthews’ proposal offers a variety of different types and sizes of homes, from 1,000 square feet all the way up to 5,000 square feet or more, to allow families or individuals a number of choices on where to live throughout their lives, all without having to leave the neighborhood.

Matthews said his plan calls for little to no water-front property. Instead, his plan pulls all the townhomes back and dedicates a majority of the waterfront to community green space. Matthews also noted that a majority of the properties under his plan would be part of a homeowners association.

As for contractors and supplies, Matthews informed the commission that a majority of his work team already resides in the Goshen area, though there may be a need on occasion to go outside of the area for specific needs.

“Our chief architect lives in Goshen,” Matthews said. “So we’re already using quite a few contractors that are from the Goshen area.”

Members Tuesday indicated that they would like to take the time before their next meeting to mull over the proposals before making any final decisions.

“We’re not going to decide on this tonight,” said RDC member Tom Stump.

In the meantime, both Matthews and Ediger indicated that they would be willing to chat with anyone from the community about their individual proposals before the RDC’s next meeting. Matthews can be reached by phone at 888-651-7823, or by email at David@IvyQuad.com. Ediger can be reached by phone at 574-875-9431, or by email at alan@interfacearch.com.

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