By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The East Lincoln Crossroads Neighborhood Association finds its home in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Goshen.
Centrally located within the city limits, East Lincoln Crossroads is bounded by 11th Street on the east, Madison Street on the south, Fifth Street on the west and the railroad on the northeast.
“My house was built in 1894, so we’re in the old historic district,” said ELCNA co-leader Ardean Friesen. “Goshen was incorporated in the early 1830s, so a good part of this neighborhood was the original plat of Goshen.”
Not the most active neighborhood association in the city, Friesen said association activity tends to wax and wain over time due to the relatively fluid nature of a portion of the association’s population base.
“Through the years we’ve had a number of different activities and worked at trying to get different neighbors involved,” Friesen said. “There are a number of rentals in the neighborhood, so there are always a number of people coming and going. So it’s been kind of a struggle to try and keep people involved.”
In discussing quality of life in the neighborhood, Friesen was quick to reference what he feels is one of the neighborhood’s biggest selling points: a centralized location.
“I’ve lived in the neighborhood since March of 2000, and I love living here because it’s central,” Friesen said. “We’re just blocks from downtown. It’s close to the high school, close to the college, close to all the new activity downtown.”
Friesen said he also enjoy’s the neighborhood’s proximity to the popular Pupkinvine Nature Trail and Maple City Greenway.
“From where we are you can see people out and walking all the time, which for me is just awesome,” Friesen said.
As for any possible detractors connected to the neighborhood, Friesen said he couldn’t really point to any one thing, other than the aforementioned lack of community participation from time to time.
“For me, really I think our hardest task has been to get people active and engaged,” Friesen said. “To get organized activities together has been kind of an issue, but that’s really the only issue I’ve seen.”
The association is not without it’s community success stories, however, perhaps the most obvious of which is the community-maintained garden located at the intersection of Ninth Street and Lincoln Avenue.
“We put in the garden I believe back around 2007,” Friesen said. “But there were several years of planning for it before that. We ended up writing a grant to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and got funding for 12 trees which we planted with the help of the city forester. Then we got a memorial gift from LaCasa through the McIntosh family. So it really has beautified that piece as you’re coming into Goshen, and it also kind of serves as the trail head for the Maple City Greenway and Pumpkinvine Trail.”
In looking forward to any upcoming plans or changes for the association, Friesen pointed to ongoing discussions regarding U.S. 33 reconstruction as an issue that could significantly affect the makeup of the neighborhood down the line.
“We’re continuously monitoring and watching the progress as far as U.S. 33 and the plans that are in the works for that,” Friesen said. “The new plans that are being endorsed right now have the road following the railroad right through our neighborhood, which will take a lot of properties out of the neighborhood if given the green light. So we just want to make sure that it’s something that’s going to be conducive to improving traffic, but also not affecting our neighborhood in a negative way.”