Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

March 9, 2014

Excited aboutrevitalization

Goshen’s millrace is a link to the Maple City’s commercial history. In recent years, the canal waters that once powered industry flowed past an area that appeared to have outlived its potential.

Looks can deceive.

Much has to happen yet before the vision of local planners and developers to remake the river race corridor becomes reality. That said, The Goshen News is enthused by the housing and entrepreneurial ventures outlined thus far.

THE RIVER RACE CORRIDOR is made up of around 22 acres starting with the former Northern Indiana Public Service Co. property behind Interra Credit Union. On the west side of the race, the corridor extends from the former NIPSCO site south to Shanklin Park. On the east side, the race area extends from the former Hawks furniture building down to Douglas Street.

The corridor had been home to several “brownfield” sites — former commercial or industrial property that might be contaminated. “Brownfield” is an uneasy fit with “brimming with possibilities.” Unless, of course, there are people willing to work to make the pieces fit.

A 2005 Ball State study was key to shaping the vision of what the river race corridor could be. Nearly a decade and no small amount of remediation later, the corridor is ripe for revitalization. The planned projects include:

• Single-family homes on the east side of race to be developed by Richard Miller Construction, as part of the Millrace Neighborhood Group. Matthews LLC will develop townhouses and flats nearby.

• LaCasa Inc. is developing the Hawks building into live/work space for artists and entrepreneurs.

• A South Bend company wants to produced hydroelectricity on the powerhouse property on the millrace’s north end. And a brew pub is planned in the former NIPSCO building.

The river race redevelopment story was outlined in The News’ recent “Who We Are” publication. That title is apt when it comes to the millrace projects.

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