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Two proposals for hot property along St. Joseph River in Elkhart

NOW: Two proposals for hot property along St. Joseph River in Elkhart

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ELKHART, Ind.-- It's team condo versus team rowing club for a hot property along the St. Joseph River in Elkhart.

If you drive through East Jackson Boulevard in Elkhart, you'll see a vacant piece of land.

For the Elkhart Rowing Club, it's an opportunity to do something special.

“The Elkhart schools are combining. Their looking for other sports for the kids. Golf, archery, lacrosse, so we took the rowing idea to the school system, and they thought it was great," said Elkhart Rowing Club board member, Tom Shoff.

The club is proposing a three story, six million dollar rowing club facility for Elkhart City schools and a park along the river. All of which will be privately funded.

“We have several Elkhart families that already said that they’re going to help us. We really can’t start raising the money until the Elkhart Redevelopment Commission gives us the green-light," said Shoff.

Before that, there's another competing bid. Housing.

“20 condominiums ranging in price from $300 to $500 thousand dollars. Square footage anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 sqaure feet. Views of the river," said owner of Heritage Financial Group, Brian Smith.

The Elkhart Redevelopment Commission says it's basing its decision on three things. One being strength, completeness and quality of the proposal. Two, the strength of the overall development team. Lastly, additional considerations which includes the overall benefit to the city. 

The Elkhart Rowing Club believes it meets those expectations since they say their vision includes benefits for everyone.

“People that want to take a bike down there, or have a picnic lunch in the park, or keep their kayak or boat in the boathouse they can. The community room will be a gathering place too for all kinds of events to happen," said Shoff.

The group wanting to build condos on the other hand says real estate is the best way to capitalize on what the city already has to offer.

“Our group thinks that residential is probably the best use for that site. The reason is that we need to get people in the river district to use the services of the entertainment the retail, the offices that’ll be there," said Smith.

Both proposals will be presented to the Elkhart Development Commission Tuesday. This is where they'll be opening the proposals for the first time, however, no action will be taken until they've had enough time to review them.

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