The Vibrant Communities process was initiated to engage the communities of Elkhart County in a discussion on quality-of-place. Over a six-month program, nearly a thousand participants shared close to 4,000 unique ideas and comments. To reach a final set of community quality-of-place actions the Vibrant Communities Steering Committee developed a six-month process to elicit thoughts and ideas from the public. This included several large and small in-person meetings, online feedback and physical surveys. Please review the Action Agenda below and let the Steering Committee know what you think!


E1 – Provide more programming and events in parks and community assets.

Coordinate, collaborate, and program in parks and community assets year-round. This will make the city more inviting, and appealing during the after work hours. Elkhart has many assets that can be better marketed and utilized, to make the city more exciting and vibrant.

E2 – Create a communications strategy to promote events, activities, quality of life, services, etc.

Focusing on “all things Elkhart” a communications strategy to expose community events will provide residents with a better calendar of activities and programs throughout the year. The delivery model should be diverse to ensure the messaging is received by all of the city’s diverse audiences.

E3 – Extend after work hours and launch new weekend events to make Elkhart a 24-hour city.

The community will launch a variety of venues open before and after the work day. This will help to retain and attract people to the community in addition to the 8-5 employees.

E4 – Create more family-friendly events, venues, restaurants, etc.

Create a better mix of shopping, dining, entertainment options to improve the livability of the community and attract families.

E5 – Work with schools and universities to engage younger people.

Collaborate and engage universities and schools to forge ongoing partnerships between the students and the community. Provide better communication and engagement that will lead to an improved understanding of community assets by the students and increase the likelihood of them staying and investing back into the community after graduation.

E6 – Work with police and public works to create community policing safe neighborhoods.

Increase the safety of our neighborhoods, parks, paths, parking lots, and alleys by improving lighting, adding area police call boxes, and using other creative and well-tested methods.

E7 – Provide an incentive program to revitalize, remove, or replace dilapidated properties.

Many older buildings cannot currently be renovated without incentives to property owners or potential investors. By identifying buildings with particular promise or potential, the incentive program can support future renovation projects through either direct or indirect means.

E8 – Develop a central aquatics and community center, and support multiple community centers for youth.

The former YMCA property will be redeveloped to make way for a new aquatics and community center. Additional support and programing will be provided for existing community centers, like Tolson and the Boys & Girls Club to increase the vitality and livability of the community and improve the health of its residents.

E9 – Improve Elkhart’s opportunities to age-in-place.

Walkable communities with access to high-quality healthcare and daily needs will allow residents of Elkhart to age-in-place as opposed to leaving the community. The senior population is important and growing faster than any other age cohort.

E10 – Build safe and attractive connections to support active transportation between parks, attractions, shopping and schools.

Improve the existing pathways between parks and places people want/need to go. Through better connections residents will be inspired to use the assets we have and increase active lifestyles and improve the community’s health.

E11 – Maintain aesthetics, safety, accessibility, and identification of park system.

Create better signage and lighting and improve landscaping and keep up-to-date with maintenance.

E12 – Support projects that promote purposeful engagement with the rivers.

Maintain and promote the accessibility and use of the community’s rivers. These are unique and important assets which can and should be better leveraged.

E13 – Expand the housing inventory to serve an increasingly diverse community.

Increase the diversity of housing options across the community to meet the equally diverse set of demands from current and future residents. Diversity refers to both affordability and type. The current lack of inventory and affordability makes it difficult for many people to move to, or stay in Elkhart.

The Elkhart
Community Conversations

February 23, 2016, 5-7pm
Pinewood Elementary

During the Community Conversations participants were asked to think about the central assets and opportunities they see within their community. The Elkhart conversations included:

Ideas & Comments

What do you think?

Now that you’ve had a chance to review the Action Agenda, let us know what you think. What do you support? What are your concerns? Let us know below.

Elkhart Form

Want to get involved?

Is there a particular proposal where you feel like you could be helpful? Let us know and get involved in the implementation of the Action Agenda.

Get involved (Action Agenda Implementation)
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