Elkhart Civic Plaza & Central Park

Elkhart, IN


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Construction on a series of public improvements on the Civic Plaza kicked off in January. The public amenities that will be added to the Civic Plaza as part of this project include:

  • Stage at the east end of a newly graded event lawn
  • A shade garden on the north end of the plaza, with several new trees and featuring new native plant material
  • New street lights along High Street and Waterfall Drive

As part of this project, a portion of the existing lot will be converted to open space, allowing space for a future café and/or restroom building. At this time, the café and/or restroom building is not proposed as part of this phase.

Construction kicked off in January 2020, with an estimated completion date of July 2020. Updates will be posted to the website as they are available.


Located in downtown Elkhart, the Civic Plaza and Central Park provide a vital public gathering space in the heart of the city.  As downtown activity continues to grow, the use of the plaza and green space has grown tremendously over the years.  A study led by Rundell Ernstberger Associates will engage the public to determine how these spaces can be improved to best serve a wide range of community events.

“In just three years, we went from hosting five downtown events to over 50,” said former Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese. “With so much activity and investment in the area, it has prompted an important discussion about how we utilize the Central Plaza and how it serves as the center of downtown activity. My vision for a revitalized downtown is a modern area, with additional public and private amenities, that accommodates large events as well as daily social engagement. The design must appeal to residents and visitors of all ages and give them a reason to visit the park year-round.”

“In just three years, we went from hosting five downtown events to over 50.” – Former Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese

To determine how these spaces could be better used and improved, a public-input process will assist the City of Elkhart and the design team to determine the best future for the space.  “I am excited by the opportunity to hear from residents and incorporate their feedback in a transformational project that reflects our unique identity and encourages private investment in adjacent areas,” Neese said. “Placemaking is the future of economic development and plays an undeniable role in talent attraction and retention. It is important that residents feel connected to local parks and want to provide feedback that will help improve their quality of life and the City as a whole.”