Portage & Elwood Neighborhood Center Vision

Conceptual Framework

Portage Avenue & Elwood Avenue Neighborhood Center Vision framework is intended to serve as a guide to business and property owners, residents, developers, City staff, elected officials, and others in making investment, land use and design decisions.  The objectives of the Framework are to:

  • Establish a community vision for the Center;
  • Facilitate the revitalization of the underutilized and underdeveloped Center;
  • Ensure attractive, well designed development that enhances the image of the Northwest side and the City as a whole;
  • Ensure desirable, multifunctional, and unique development which fits into its surroundings and that serves the needs of city residents;
  • Generate private investment in and near the Center; and
  • Direct improvements to public infrastructure such as streets, sidewalks and open spaces, within the Center.

The Neighborhood Center is bounded by Portage Avenue to the east, Elwood Avenue to the north, Wilber Street to the west, and Vassar Avenue & the former railroad tracks to the south.

Presentation and Workshop Flyer (graphic single) - Apr 17 2018.jpg

Public Design Charrette

The City of South Bend has hired consultant Opticos Design, Inc. to lead a design charrette to develop a market-based conceptual framework forth Portage & Elwood neighborhood center.

Community Workshop - April 17

Neighbors and community members were invited to attend a public meeting with City staff and Opticos Design, Inc. to share their thoughts and help create a vision for the area.

View the April 17 workshop presentation here.

Design Charrette - May 6-9

Neighbors and community members are invited to share their ideas for the future vision of the Portage & Elwood Neighborhood Center during a four-day workshop.  There will be multiple chances for the public to be involved and share their thoughts.  The community is welcome to attend any or all sessions:

  • Opening Presentation - setting the stage for the workshop
  • Open Studio - stop in and tell the design team your ideas
  • Public Open House - informal review of in-progress drawings
  • Brown Bag Lunch Talk - economics of the neighborhood center (bring your own lunch)
  • Closing Presentation - come see the results of the workshop

Charrette Session Schedule

  • Sunday, May 6th             4pm  - 6pm      Opening Presentation
  • Monday, May 7th            10am - 5pm     Open Studio drop-in hours
  • Monday, May 7th             5pm - 7 pm     Public Open House
  • Tuesday, May 8th            10am - 5pm    Open Studio drop-in hours
  • Tuesday, May 8th            12pm - 1pm    Brown Bag Lunch Talk
  • Wednesday, May 9th       10am - 1pm    Open Studio drop-in hours
  • Wednesday, May 9th       6pm - 8 pm     Closing Presentation

All sessions will be held at the Near Northwest Neighborhood, Inc. Community Space, 1013 Portage Ave.

Parking is available across the street from the space as well as next to the building.

What is a charrette?

A charrette is an intensive planning session where citizens, designers and others collaborate on a vision for a defined area.  It provides a place to generate ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the designers.  The dynamic and inclusive process, with frequent presentations, is a fast method of identifying and overcoming obstacles.  The shared experience helps establish interest in the design and build support for the vision.

Charrettes are organized to encourage the participation of all.  That includes everyone who is interested in bringing the vision to reality: residents, property owners, developers, and local government.

There will be multiple chances for the public to be involved and share their thoughts during a 4-day design charrette process May 6-9


Did you know?

To the south of the site is an officially abandoned rail line.  The City is currently working on plans to turn the line into a multi-use path (coal-line-trail).  Phase I, which runs adjacent to the neighborhood center is anticipated to have construction begin in 2020.

For additional information about the Portage & Elwood Neighborhood Center Vision, contact the Department of Community Investment at 574-235-5821.