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South Bend seeks input on LaSalle Park development plan

Map of LaSalle Park neighborhood in South Bend.
Photo provided, city of South Bend
Map of LaSalle Park neighborhood in South Bend.

LaSalle Park on the west side of South Bend has suffered historically due to a redlining and a lack of investment. Now, the city is hoping to reverse those trends with a focused neighborhood development plan for the area.

Tuesday night marks the first community meeting where planners will make a presentation about what housing in LaSalle park could look like. Then, on Thursday and again on November 16, planners will hold all-day workshops where residents are encouraged to stop by and give input on what they’d like to see in the area.

South Bend’s director of planning Tim Corcoran said a big focus of the plan will be on housing due to comments from residents, as well as the chance to attract workers from the General Motors battery plant that’s coming to New Carlisle in the coming years.

“It’s really good to get ahead of big projects like that," Corcoran said. "And this process allows us to determine the housing future for LaSalle Park.”

All events will be held at the Charles Black Community Center on Washington Street. Tuesday’s meeting starts at 6 p.m.

The planning process for LaSalle Park will look similar to what the city has done in plans for other neighborhoods including the East Race area, the Near Northwest Neighborhood, Rum Village, Monroe Circle and others. City planners will receive community input then make a development proposal to present back for more public feedback before getting it approved by the common council.

The west side of South Bend, and LaSalle park in particular have some of the lowest home values in the city and the area has historically been under invested in due to a racist practice known as redlining, where banks would deny home loans in areas with majority Black residents. The neighborhood was also hit hard when the Studebaker manufacturing plant closed down, leaving many unemployed.

Despite the legacy of poverty in the area, there have been recent strides such as $2.1 million cleanup and renovation of LaSalle Park.

Marek Mazurek has been with WVPE since April 2023, though he's been in Michiana for most of his life. He has a particular interest in public safety reporting. When he's not on the radio, Marek enjoys getting way too into Notre Dame football and reading about medieval English history.