ELKHART — The RV/MH Hall of Fame heads into summer ready to expand after a few years of preparation.
Construction is now underway at the facility, which celebrates the recreational vehicle industry’s history and connection to Elkhart County, near the Indiana Toll Road and C.R. 17. The work is part of a growth strategy that includes a new pavilion and eventually adding a large, new event center.
The current project is focused on building a new 22,000-square-foot pavilion, said Darryl Searer, president of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation.
The Elkhart County Commissioners helped the expansion plans move forward at their meeting Monday. They approved the Hall of Fame organization’s request to update the current development plan in its business park zoning to allow for new construction.
The vote came after the county Plan Commission unanimously supported the amended zoning in April.
The pavilion will include heating and air conditioning for year-round use and new parking. The site will be set in a large outdoor space that can host shows and rallies, Searer said. He also said he couldn’t talk about the anticipated cost of the project, but he did estimate construction should be complete by September.
“It’s going to be a great asset for the community, as well as the show people,” Searer said. “We’re excited about it.”
The pavilion is considered the first of three phases to expand and update the Hall of Fame under plans that have been in the works since about 2016. The other two phases have called for building a new 60,000-square-foot event center and then renovating the existing event center.
Searer said Phase 2 is on hold and won’t start until after funds are raised for construction. The Phase 3 renovation can’t start until the new facility is built, he said.
The commissioners, with Suzanne Weirick absent, also approved Mennonite Disability Committee Inc.’s request to remove a detailed planned unit development designation from property along C.R. 36 and C.R. 41 near Millersburg.
The house at 11642 C.R. 36 was intended to serve as the new headquarters for Goldenrod, the MDC’s program for providing care and housing for clients with disabilities.
But Goldenrod shut down in January amid apparent financial difficulties. A message on Goldenrod’s former home page, www.GoldenrodCommunities.com, shows operations had to “wind down due to a lack of financial resources.”
The message also states, “Goldenrod is in the process of selling assets in order to fund its obligations.”
The C.R. 36 property was purchased for $790,000 last October, and Goldenrod received rezoning approval. Plans called for converting the house and relocating the organization there from its former location along College Avenue in Goshen.
• The commissioners also approved a rezoning request so Jomar Machining can expand on property along C.R. 22 near C.R. 37 in Middlebury.
The company specializes in machining, including recycling equipment and tire shredding.
• The commissioners accepted the Highway Department’s recommendation to purchase a new sewer-cleaning truck for $426,000. The amount was not the lowest of the bids from two companies the county accepted last week.
County Attorney Craig Buche recommended the commissioners wait until next week to approve the bid so that a resolution could be drafted explaining the reasons why the lowest bid wasn’t accepted.
Aimee Ambrose can be reached at aimee.ambrosegoshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 316.