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Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson delivers second State of the City address

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Screenshot captured via WebEx
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In his second State of the City address Wednesday night, Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson said the last year has brought Elkhart “national attention for its economic potential.”

Roberson mentioned Amazon’s investment in the area and a Wall Street Journal report naming Elkhart the top housing market in the country.

 

“These major recognitions that we are doing something right here,” he said. “People are asking and taking notice, and that is propelling us into 2022.”

 

The mayor touched on accomplishments from 2021, including the reimagined Tolson Center for Community Excellence and the beginnings of a “transformation” in the city’s south-central corridor

 

“On South Main Street from Lusher to Ivy, a new and improved roadway and streetscape are being constructed,” he said. “Which includes a bike path, trees, streetlights, curbs, storm sewer and water main.”

 

Other infrastructure projects that broke ground or were completed in 2021 include the $30 million wastewater treatment plant expansion, the replacement of a 100-year-old water main on North Main Street and the new Jackson Street bridge.

 

Roberson said constituent services were also a big focus for the city in 2021 – he said the city’s 311 app has received over 2,500 submissions since its relaunch earlier this year, 2,267 of which were resolved by city departments. 

 

“MyElkhart311 is ranked number one in our region for citizen engagement, which shows the void this reporting system has filled in this city,” Roberson said.

 

Looking into 2022, Roberson said the city is set to begin $20 million worth of infrastructure projects next year – including a paved bike trail through the Elkhart Environmental Center, streetscape improvements on North Main Street, and signalization of Cassopolis and Emerson in preparation for a new Meijer store.

 

He said the city’s economic development team will also continue working toward the goals outlined in the Elkhart 2040 Plan: business diversification, strengthening housing opportunities and talent optimization.

 

As the city continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Roberson said Elkhart’s resiliency will be key to its success in 2022.

 

“The last decade has forced us to weather a recession, a pandemic – and we are still poised for a more prosperous year yet,” he said. “Just like in 2021 and in 2020, we are much stronger together than we are apart.”

 

However, Roberson stressed that the pandemic isn’t over – he began his speech by acknowledging that Elkhart County recently returned to the most serious “red” category on the state’s COVID-19 tracking map. 

 

“As we head into the winter months, it is a good time to remind everyone to stay diligent, get vaccinated, get your booster when you’re eligible – like I did – and mask up and stay home when you don’t feel well,” Roberson said. 

 

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

 

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Gemma DiCarlo comes 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.