Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 17, 2013

Redevelopment of former Holiday Inn site is important to Goshen


— The cooperation between our city and county governments to rid our city of a large, abandoned building is a welcomed development.

The Goshen Redevelopment Commission was granted ownership of the former Goshen Inn and Conference Center along Lincolnway East by the Elkhart County Commissioners earlier this week. Goshen’s Mayor Allan Kauffman asked that the county transfer the ownership to the city agency so it can be demolished or redeveloped. The county is owed more than $320,000 in back taxes on that parcel. The request for ownership transfer was a smart move by Kauffman and it was a generous move by the county commissioners to honor the request.

The inn’s long history of serving as a local gathering place and a stop for travelers came to an abrupt and violent end in 2011 when former owner Ken Patel was murdered there. He had hired a homeless man from Kokomo to help with the renovation of the pool area and that man took his life.

That pool was once the centerpiece of the inn when it was a Holidome in the Holiday Inn chain. Many children giggled, played “Marco Polo” and splashed around in the pool with their friends as they celebrated their birthdays. There was also a miniature golf course in the courtyard, a game room and a nightclub. The inn’s conference rooms were in constant use by local businesses and civic groups, which met there for their weekly luncheons. Even visiting college football teams, in town to play Notre Dame, would often stay at the motel.

The inn later became a Ramada Inn for a time and eventually was operated as the independent Goshen Inn. When the recession hit and the recreational vehicle industry shrunk dramatically, the community’s motels suffered right along with the rest of Goshen’s businesses. Unfortunately, the Goshen Inn’s business did not rebound and the property wound up in the county’s hands due to back taxes being owed.

The property is located on a busy highway not far from Goshen College, shopping areas and the industrial parks on the city’s south side. This location is an asset and any redevelopment project can tap into the highly visible and busy location. Whether that redevelopment takes the form of a new use for the old building or a demolition will be up to the Goshen Redevelopment Commission. The commission is made up of concerned local residents who are interested in continuing to move the city forward. So, we have plenty of confidence the commission will come up with a viable use for the property.

We are sorry to see the sad end for the inn, but when we look down the road, we can envision all types of productive retail or commercial uses for the property. We can’t wait to see what the Redevelopment Commission has planned for the property.