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South Bend community and city leaders call for more development west of the St. Joseph River

Gemma DiCarlo/WVPE

Back in August, the South Bend Common Council passed a resolution to explore an updated comprehensive plan for the city’s west side. Community leaders held a town hall Tuesday to discuss what needs to be in that plan.

Westside leaders and residents say the biggest issues on their side of the river are affordable housing, food insecurity and a lack of economic opportunity. 


They say there are organizations in westside neighborhoods that are already addressing those issues – but they need funding and resources in order to grow.


The council resolution calls for an urban planner to help connect those initiatives and expand their impact. From there, Second District Councilman Henry Davis, Jr. said the city can develop a new comprehensive plan for neighborhoods west of the river.


“There has to be a plan that says, ‘These things happen over here that are successful for any neighborhood,’” Davis said Tuesday.


Davis pointed to Eddy Street Commons as a “blueprint” for successful neighborhood investment, though it would need to be adapted for the west side.


“You may not get a Trader Joe’s, but you can get a corner store with some workers that is actually supplying fresh produce,” he said. “You need a bank, so you can go somewhere and invest your money. You need a church, right? You need a school, a school that your kids can actually walk to and use after the day is over.” 


“Those are the things that make up a community. That’s what makes up a neighborhood. That is what everybody in here is yearning for,” he added.


Panelists at the town hall Tuesday said they would like to see American Rescue Plan dollars go toward those initiatives. They also said Tuesday’s meeting is the first in a series to discuss westside development, and others will be held soon. 


Contact Gemma atgdicarlo@wvpe.orgor follow her on Twitter at@gemma_dicarlo.


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Gemma DiCarlo came to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.
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