The crowd spreads their blankets on the wide terraces in front of the new Central Park stage. As the band sets up for their show, enticing smells waft from the food trucks lined up on Waterfall Drive. As the Central Park lawn fills up, more people gather in the shade of trees lining High Street and on the patio of the new cafe.

This scene of a beautiful summer evening has been brought to you by the designers of a proposed renovation of downtown Elkhart’s Central Park.

The design concepts were presented in early July. Now residents of Elkhart can offer their feedback on the project’s website (click on the Contact button to leave a comment).

Elkhart residents review proposed changes to Elkhart’s Central Park at a public event July 3, 2019.

The designs by Rundell Ernstberger Associates were influenced by public comments made at sessions in fall 2018 to identify what improvements Elkhart residents wanted to Central Park and Civic Plaza. Features of the proposed changes include:

  • A stage in Central Park near the corner of High Street and Waterfall Drive.
  • The stage faces a terraced green space that has three tiers.
  • A shaded area lining High Street equipped with cafe tables and chairs that could be blocked off for special events.
  • A stand-alone building featuring a cafe with indoor/outdoor seating, and separate restrooms.
  • Waterfall Drive is designed to be shut down for food trucks or other vendors during events, and open to traffic at other times.

The proposed renovations will be considered by the Elkhart Redevelopment Commission sometime in fall 2019.


  • Beth H says:

    Great idea, especially the café with indoor/outdoor seating, making it dog friendly as well. Its really exciting to see the downtown being spruced up, making it more inviting for events and visits

  • AR says:

    I’ve been noticing this summer that I am drawn to areas with trees – and people seem to be drawn to trees,, too. When I’m looking for a parking spot with tree shade (very few places of shade in parking lots) I find that those spaces are the first ones taken, but it’s nice to bring groceries to a car that hasn’t turned into an oven while I’ve picked up food. When people I’ve gone on picnics my group often searches for a tree to anchor our experience – even if we’re at the edge of the shade where we’re in part shade and part sun. When sightseeing in the middle of the day it’s nice to have shade that allows me to look up without needing to shade my eyes with my hand and squint against the bright sun. I love the idea of putting more trees up in main areas of the city. I think this will draw more people to them when the summer months are really hot. Thanks for this work! It looks good so far!

  • James Ballard says:

    Make sure environmental design and security features are put in place to dissuade mis-use of the area by transients!

  • Paula Turk says:

    it would be really nice to have consideration for an outdoor dance floor/ surface by the stage. In addition to the Jazz Festival, there are many summer concerts and dance events where people like to dance. This could also provide stable footing for outdoor fitness classes, exhibits and other events for seniors. For ideas on this, Chicago has an outdoor floor in Grant Park that is made out of recycled “wood”, flush into the ground, Please check it out.

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