SOUTH BEND – Some people living in St. Joseph County are upset.
The County Council voted 7-0 Tuesday night in favor of Notre Dame's plan to move Douglas Road farther north between 933 and Juniper, but people who live nearby aren't happy. With the new road, they say it'll take them longer to get anywhere south. But there's really nothing residents can do.
Indian Village is small, quaint and quiet. "It's just gorgeous. There's a lot of wild around here, nature, I just love it," said Charles Clark, who has lived there for nearly 40 years.
Indian Village is also right next to Notre Dame. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for the university on all levels, academia, athletics you name it," said Clark.
But Clark is not a fan of the university's plan to move Douglas Road farther north between 933 and Juniper. The new road will have roundabouts and bike trails. The current road would be closed to traffic from 933 going east to Juniper.
"The university forgets that it's like a bull in a china shop; it's big and massive and when it flicks its tail a little bit, things get damaged," he said. Clark says the changes will make it harder for people living in Indian Village to get around. "Just that it makes it more inconvenient for us to travel to and from here," Clark said.
Opponents of the plan spoke at Tuesday night's St. Joseph County Council meeting, but in the end, the council sided with Notre Dame.
"I was really frustrated with the meeting. 28 taxpaying, voting constituents stood up there and told the council they did not want this, but one entity, Notre Dame, stood up there and said they did want it and they got it and I don't think the council was listening to their constituents at all," said Clark.
"We do listen to their concerns. We just didn't in this case agree with them. When you have a project that gets the approval of 7-0, there's a great deal of unanimity to do this project," said County Councilman Mike Hamann.
Hamann says the project will allow Notre Dame to expand its campus on the northside, while improving traffic on the east-west corridor. "It's really gonna help traffic move from 933 eastward and vice versa," he said.
The Board of Commissioners will take up the Douglas Road proposal next Tuesday.
Commissioner Andrew Kostielney says he anticipates the proposal will pass and that the road change will help with traffic flow in the northern part of the county.