ELKHART – The city of Elkhart has a better picture of what might become of a prime piece of real estate near the downtown.
Tuesday is the deadline for the city to accept proposals on the former Elkhart foundry site. The city paid to have the old foundry torn down and cleaned up and is very interested in getting it back on the tax rolls.
Right now, the only thing that occupies the old foundry site is geese and ducks that take up the temporary residence. The site has come a long way from when the old foundry building was there; a building that was a magnet for vandalism, fires, and vagrants.
Larry Morris, who owns an auto shop next door, is amazed at the transformation to the property already.
“We've watched this area go from a vagrant motel to a really nice piece of property down here and we are really anxiously waiting for something to come down in here,” said Morris.
The city says the seven acre site near the river walk has a lot of potential.
“This is definitely a prime piece of real estate in the downtown area,” said Barkley Garrett, from the Economic Development department. “There’s definitely a buzz about the foundry project. Definitely some interest in seeing that developed so we are excited about the possibilities.”
It is the city's hope that the property can be put back on the tax rolls that a new company or business can set up shop while bringing new jobs with it and being a part of an ongoing effort to attract more people to the downtown.
“You would like a tax paying entity,” said Arvis Dawson, executive assistant to the mayor. “Something that is going to generate a high level of traffic, something that is going to generate people to come downtown, and a destination place possibly.”
“We need some more industry, or you know some types of businesses down here to get even more traffic flow back up,” said Morris.
The Elkhart Redevelopment Commission met to receive proposals for the site but none were turned in. The city will now begin to look into ideas that local developers have come up. There is no timetable yet for that process.