Goshen’s Dickerson Landing neighborhood to get help
Posted: 11/29/2011 at 1:15 am
By: Justin Leighty
Click here to view in a gallery.
Tom Riggs (left) and Jerry Miller look over the corner at Wilkinson and First Streets in Goshen 11/28/2011. The historic neighborhood is scheduled for curbing, drainage, parking and green space improvements planned to start May of 2012. Riggs is historian and Miller is the photographer for the Dickerson Landing Neighborhood Association. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
According to Dickerson Landing Neighborhood Association historian, Tom Riggs, this house, pictured 11/28/2011, is the oldest in the Dickerson Landing neighborhood. The house dates from the late 1800's. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
One of the Dickerson Landing neighborhood association signs is pictured in this 11/28/2011 photograph. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Jerry Miller photographs a tree apparently felled by beaver 11/28/2011 at the west end of Wilkinson Street. Miller is the photographer for the Dickerson Landing Neighborhood Association. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Tom Riggs looks over the site of the Dickerson Landing at the west end of Wilkinson Street in Goshen. Once the site of a boat landing and commerce center in the late 1800's the landing is now an empty lot. Riggs is historian for the Dickerson Landing Neighborhood Association. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Tom Riggs holds a plan drawing that includes curbing and drainage improvements that will help prevent problems like this water pooled at one of the Post Office parking lot exits. Planned improvements to the Dickerson Landing neighborhood should start in May of 2012. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Parking and curb improvements to the Dickerson Landing neighborhood should prevent problems like this in the future. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Holding a drawing of the Dickerson Landing neighborhood Tom Riggs points out planned improvements to green space, parking, and curbing in the historic Goshen near north side neighborhood. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Jerry Miller (left) and Tom Riggs look over the corner at Wilkinson and First Streets in Goshen 11/28/2011. The historic neighborhood is scheduled for curbing, drainage, parking and green space improvements planned to start May of 2012. Riggs is historian and Miller is the photographer for the Dickerson Landing Neighborhood Association. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
The Historic Dickerson Landing Neighborhood, north of Pike Street and east of the Elkhart River, will get new water and sewer lines, new sidewalks and new streets over the next few years, starting on North First Street.
“This is the part of Goshen that sawed the lumber to make the rest of Goshen out of,” said neighborhood resident and historian Tom Riggs. “I just think it’s neat that they’re doing something to benefit the neighborhood.”
It’s all hand-in-hand with the federal Community Development Block Grant program, which will fund roughly a third of the work. That program recently led to major upgrades on Crescent Street north of downtown, and before that it helped out the East Lincoln Crossroads area and the Mill Street area.
“We tend to pick a neighborhood and move in,” said Mary Cripe, city engineer.
The Dickerson Landing area has already seen some improvements with changes to the city’s sewer system over the last several years. Wilkinson Street and then First Street north of Wilkinson have been rebuilt. “We’ve already got a lot of stuff done through here, but what was done, it was done not for our convenience, it was done for the city’s convenience,” said Riggs.
Starting in the spring, an expanded alley will head north from the Post Office to Wilkinson, and once it’s done First Street will shut down between Pike and Wilkinson streets. That will allow the street to be torn up, new water lines to be installed, some sewer work to happen and a new street to be installed.
“We’ve had really good turnout with the neighborhood” in meetings with city officials, said Rhonda Yoder, CDBG coordinator for the city.
Yoder said the biggest parts of the project will be reconstructing Second and New Streets in the coming years. Cripe estimated the work will last for at least four years, depending on funding.
Dickerson’s Landing was the area on both sides of the river just north of present-day Pike Street, Riggs said. “A steamboat came there in 1834, docked there with 100 passengers.” Those passengers helped settle the new community, formed in 1831, and they debarked at what was the northwest boundary of the city.
“You could come here and claim a piece of land, but when you’d come here and claim a piece of land, you’d have to go by horseback to Fort Wayne or Winamac in Porter County. They didn’t want you claiming your land, getting on the boat and leaving,” Riggs said.
A sawmill in the neighborhood served the community and also shipped wood out for sale elsewhere, Riggs said.
The railroad, now a prominent feature in the neighborhood, didn’t come until 1852, according to Riggs.
Despite a long history, “the biggest problem with our neighborhood is like all the others. When it gets older and people die off, the houses sell. People buy them, chop them up and rent them out. Ninety-five percent of our neighborhood is rental properties,” Riggs said.
The neighborhood association’s web site even has a section with a gallery of fame and shame, showing off recent improvements to homes alongside sidewalks and homes needing attention.
The next few years should see some of those needed improvements come to the neighborhood, fixing what the neighborhood association termed “benign neglect” by city government.
“I’m excited,” Riggs said. “I like what I see.”