South Bend plans a makeover for Michigan Street

NOW: South Bend plans a makeover for Michigan Street

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Downtown South Bend hosted First Fridays, with thousands coming downtown for a "Kid's Night Out" block party on Michigan Street.

It puts a bow on South Bend's Design Week, the community's opportunity to offer input for the 2045 downtown comprehensive plan.

Willow Wetherall, executive director for DTSB, said one priority in the plan will be a makeover for Michigan Street.

"We want to make sure every storefront [on Michigan Street] is filled, every vacant building is revitalized," she said. "What you see with First Fridays is when you've got the right atmosphere and activities, people come down."

She said Friday's block party offered a look at what people want for downtown.

"A lot of the concepts and ideas that were presented during Design Week to show the vibrancy of what downtown can be are exemplified tonight," Wetherall said. "So, what we're seeing for Kids' Night Out First Friday is what we want to see year-round every day in downtown South Bend. The number of people, the businesses full, the excitement and activities."

Nearly 400 people gave input for South Bend's 2045 comprehensive plan for downtown, helping DTSB reach its goal of 1,000 participants.

"People have said they want a walkable wander-able downtown where you can come with your family, you can pop in and out of shops, you can have a great meal, there's always something to do, it's safe, it's comfortable, it's beautiful," she said. "Michigan Street is really the heart of our downtown, and we're giving special attention to the 100 and 200 blocks of Michigan Street in the overall plan."

The public feedback from Design Week goes now to architects and consultants, and they will come back with plans and drawings for another round of feedback this fall.

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