It may be winter, but the city of Elkhart’s ribbon-cutting of a revamped Central Park has us dreaming of concerts and performances under warm starry skies, when the pandemic is under control.

Last week, Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson and other city leaders unveiled Central Park’s new features, including a new stage at the east end of the park along Waterfall Drive, a terraced green space, and a patio-like area where tables and chairs can be placed. The city’s vision for Central Park was established during a series of public meetings and feedback sessions where residents described what they wanted on the park.

Based on the feedback, the city and its consultants put together a plan that included the stage and green space, but also envisions future improvements that include a cafe, public restrooms, play area, commercial development at the perimeter of the park, and additional underground parking. Those future improvements will be added in later stages, but no timeline has been outlined yet.

Rod Roberson, mayor of Elkhart (center), cuts the ribbon as the city opens the renovated Central Park on Friday, December 11, 2020.

“We now have space where we can relax and it can be a spacious park,” said Mayor Roberson at the ribbon-cutting. “I want people to know when they come to downtown Elkhart that that’s where they were. I want them to be able to see they were in Elkhart and they enjoyed themselves and the type of placemaking that we know downtown can create.

Let’s continue to care for each other in our community by wearing masks, refraining from attending crowded events, social-distancing, and washing hands. Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 when it’s available to the general public will also get us to the point when concerts on the lawn and festivals will become a reality again. We can do it!

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