South Bend’s West Side has been seeing more new faces lately, due in part to local community advocacy and the city’s efforts to redevelop the area’s streetscape. One local group, West Side South Bend has led efforts to bring attention to the area, one of the most popular events the group hosts is West Side Wednesday.
Every first Wednesday of the month, West Side South Bend hosts a lunchtime get-together at an area restaurant. This month, Sabor a Mexico.
West Side Wednesdays began about two years ago as a way to promote West Side restaurants and businesses and encourage networking with residents who didn’t frequent the area. It’s now become a staple event for the group.
Community advocate Sam Centellas is part of the group that started the West Side Wednesday lunches. He says the popularity of the event is paying dividends.
“We’re showing off this part of town, the city’s made an investment through infrastructure and the community, through La Casa, through West Side Wednesday, through other organizations have responded by finding ways to get people involved and interacting and responding to this neighborhood,” Centellas said.
The city of South Bend was recognized last week by the Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association for it’s West Side Main Streets Initiative, which focused on improving the streetscape along Lincolnway West and Western Ave. Improvements included installing more street lighting, crosswalk bump-outs, and bus shelters.