Downtown Elkhart Inc. leader says city has 'come a long way' in the past 15 years

Dan Boecher, executive director of Downtown Elkhart Inc., looks back on the past 15 years.

Posted on Feb. 25, 2014 at 4:49 p.m.

ELKHART — Using aerial photos from Google Earth, the head of Downtown Elkhart Inc. is touting the evolution of the cityscape over the past 15 years.

Dan Boecher, who accepted the DEI executive director post in December, showed local leaders a bird’s eye view of Elkhart’s downtown area Tuesday, Feb. 25, to explain how the city has grown. Using historical images from 1999, 2005 and 2011, he illustrated how millions of dollars of public investment, annual property taxes and private donations have contributed to the construction of new buildings, demolition of dilapidated structures, creation of parks and the addition of parking lots.

“It’s not perfect, but it’s come a long way,” Boecher said.

Goshen mayor Allan Kauffman said he has been impressed by Elkhart’s efforts to create jobs and enhance development along the river.

“That’s one of the things I’m jealous about Elkhart is the number of jobs that are downtown and the critical mass of downtown apartments that you have and we don’t have yet,” he said.

Boecher said he wishes more people would notice how the investments of the city and downtown redevelopment groups have impacted the area.

Elkhart County commissioner Mike Yoder agreed.

“From a county perspective, it’s really easy to go to Nappanee, Goshen, Middlebury, Bristol and Millersburg and hear lots of positive things about those towns, but with Elkhart city you have to struggle to hear those positive things, the negative is too loud, so I appreciate the efforts to overcome that,” he said.

Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.

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