ELKHART — Mayor Tim Neese's State of the City speech on Thursday evening highlighted the prime position Elkhart is in to see both economic and residential growth over the next few years.
With one of the strongest reserve balances in the state and a 2017 budget of approximately $61.5 million, Neese said it is time for the city to take neccessary steps that will continue to attract development opportunities.
"Competition has never been greater, and if we are not willing to take the steps necessary to make our community attractive to business and development, we will lose investment to other communities," he said.
Neese said the planned $94 million worth of investment expected in the city's River District, which extends along East Jackson Boulevard, is a great first step and is positioning the city to be a frontrunner for development.
"The unprecedented development we see today is an encouraging sign of more to come and sends a message that Elkhart is open for business," he said. "Businesses are already taking notice, and Elkhart has received interest from employers in other municipalities, and even two in Illinois, who are interested in moving to or expanding their business here."
Neese wants to create a Business Advisory Council that will assist his office in economic development decisions. The board would also assist with addressing key issues, including workforce housing and development, telecommunications and infrastructure upgrades.