GOSHEN — The state would like to see at least one site in each county listed as a shovel-ready site for commercial development, but it’s already surpassed that goal in Elkhart County, certifying a second shovel-ready site Friday, Sept. 13.
The Waterford Commons Business Park on Goshen’s south side is the newest official “shovel-ready” site in Elkhart County.
The 229 acres near C.R. 27/Dierdorff Road, Waterford Mills Parkway and Regent Street are targeted for a mix of professional offices and industrial development, said Greg Hoogenboom of Hoogenboom-Nofziger, the firm that owns and is developing the site.
“It took a lot of work to get this,” Hoogenboom said as he accepted the formal certificate from Matt Crouch, manager of the shovel-ready program for the state’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
Hoogenboom worked with the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County, Goshen city officials, the Goshen Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce to earn the state’s certification, and he said the site “is a project that will benefit the city of Goshen and Elkhart County.”
Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman gave Hoogenboom credit for developing something “we desperately need in the community,” and thanked Hoogenboom-Nofziger “for all the work that you did to get to this point.”
Dorinda Heiden-Guss, head of the Economic Development Corp., said the timing is ideal for the development because there’s a lack of available sites in the county in the 100,000- to 200,000-square-foot range.
Economic development officials hope to attract some businesses that serve Warsaw’s orthopedic industry. “We’ve seen a lot of interest from people who live in North Webster, the Wawasee area,” looking at the business park, Heiden-Guss said.
Hoogenboom said he’s talked with many interested businesses, though they haven’t signed any agreements yet.
The businesses that locate in the park will have to abide by limits placed on outdoor storage and will have to meet landscaping and facade requirements, Hoogenboom said. The site is close to housing and a school, and Hoogenboom said people who work there could easily live within walking distance. There’s a linear park between much of the site and the nearby housing and Prairie View Elementary.
Crouch said, “We’re pleased to make this designation because it shows that Goshen is committed to welcoming new businesses.”
At the ceremony in the Elkhart headquarters of the Economic Development Corp., Heiden-Guss talked about the broad community support for the business park and said, “This is what growth is about.”