City of South Bend

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Residents and advocates are calling for a new comprehensive plan that would focus specifically on South Bend’s west side. 

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South Bend officials held their first “Build the Budget” hearing Thursday evening to get public input on where the city should spend its money in 2022 –– including the nearly $59 million it got from the American Rescue Plan Act. 

 

Screenshot captured via Zoom

With the city of South Bend’s 2022 budget hearings set to start this week, local Black Lives Matter leaders released their own Black People’s Budget Tuesday.

 

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Last fall, the City of South Bend, enFocus and the South Bend Community School Corporation partnered to provide internet access to students during the pandemic. Now, leaders say more than 1,700 of the district’s students are connected.

City officials say about 30 percent of South Bend residents don’t have adequate broadband access, which comes out to about 3,500 students who may struggle to participate in e-learning.

 

City of South Bend

As the coronavirus pandemic made shopping in physical stores less safe, many shoppers moved online. Now, the City of South Bend is looking to help local businesses with their online presence.

The city is now accepting applications for the Digital Storefront program, which is designed to help small businesses build or improve their online capabilities.

 

City of South Bend

South Bend entrepreneurs who are operating out of their basements, garages and living rooms may have a new opportunity to scale up their businesses. The city announced Tuesday it will launch a three-month training program to help local small-scale manufacturers grow.

Executive Director of Community Investment Santi Garces said “manufacturing” doesn’t have to be large-scale. He said it could also look like someone producing hot sauce or T-shirts in their home and selling them to friends.

 

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South Bend Mayor James Mueller updated the South Bend Common Council on the financial state of the city on Monday, Feb. 8.

Mueller said while the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the city’s economy, the impacts haven’t been as drastic as officials feared.

 

“There’s a lot of work ahead as a community with residents needing opportunities, but we certainly could have fared far worse,” he said.

 

A new esports arena inside South Bend’s Century Center will open to the public on Friday, Feb. 5, bringing competitive video gaming to Michiana.

Esports viewership mostly centers on competitive multiplayer video games like League of Legends or Fortnite – and it’s hugely popular. 

 

According to analytics company Newzoo’s Global Esports Market Report, viewership is projected to grow to almost 650 million by 2023.

 

The City of South Bend announced a new program this week to help low-income customers with their utility bills. Qualifying residents could see a $10-19 reduction in their monthly bills.

The Customer Assistance Program is meant to help low-income South Bend residents pay for services like drinking water and wastewater through credits on their utility bills. 

 

Those credits are funded by other ratepayers – in Oct. 2019, the Common Council approved a $1.75 increase to monthly sewer charges in order to fund the program.

 

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

On Tuesday, South Bend Mayor James Mueller announced a draft of a 10-year plan to rebuild South Bend’s streets. In the short term, the city will invest $25 million in street repair over the next three years.

The plan is the result of a 2018 community survey that showed neighborhood street conditions were a big concern for South Bend residents.

 

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

The City of South Bend and the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce announced a new grant program on Jan. 29 for local restaurants and bars.

South Bend Mayor James Mueller said the $2,000 Restaurant Innovation grants are meant to help local restaurants offset the cost of making their facilities pandemic-safe.

 

“They’re being asked to innovate and invest in new things like igloos, barriers," he said. "We want our local small businesses to know that we’re here for them and we’re gonna do whatever we can as a city.”

 

City of South Bend

Last year, the City of South Bend’s Office of Community Initiatives announced it would award over $300,000 in grant money to local organizations working to prevent youth violence.

 

On Jan. 28, 50 organizations – from outreach ministries to sports programs to restorative justice initiatives – received those South Bend Alive grants. 

 

City of South Bend

The City of South Bend can now begin the hiring search for a director of the Community Police Review Office. The Common Council approved a job description for the position at its meeting on Monday, Jan. 25.

The director will report to the City Clerk and will oversee all complaints of police misconduct submitted to the Community Police Review Board. 

 

Photo provided by the SB Cubs

The President of the South Bend Cubs has announced a major extension of the stadium agreement between the city and the team until the year 2041. 

JENNIFER WEINGART / WVPE PUBLIC RADIO

St. Joseph County and South Bend city offices will extend limited in-person availability through mid-January due to the pandemic.

(You can read more from a release issued by the City of South Bend below.) 

Based on the recommendation of the St. Joseph County Department of Health, most offices for the City of South Bend and St. Joseph County will continue to limit in-person access to the County-City Building and Courthouse Complex through Friday, January 15, 2020.

City of South Bend

On Thursday, the City of South Bend released a second draft of its Use of Force Policy that incorporates feedback from community members and other stakeholders.

Mayor James Mueller said the new draft mostly adds clarification to the first draft, which was released in August.

“There were suggested changes on all sides, and sometimes they were at odds with each other," Mueller said. "This draft is trying to find the balance of what’s right for our community.”