Find the people, resources, news & events that interest you.
Drivers heading into downtown South Bend from the north on Michigan Street as it passes by the Memorial Hospital complex are greeted by an abundance of beautifully manicured green spaces, attractive brick structural features, and well-planned sidewalks, curbs and streets … all part of an improvement package funded by tax increment financing (TIF) funds that benefit the entire community.
It’s a welcome sight that is particularly noteworthy not only because of its prominent location at a key point of entry into the city, but also because it is a dramatic and striking symbol of a city successfully working to renew itself.
Two phases of investment
The TIF investments, made possible through specially designated TIF areas and approved for specific projects by the Redevelopment Commission, are occurring in two phases.
In the first, a new brick facade was installed on a highly visible parking garage, turn lanes were added to relieve congestion at a crucial intersection, new curbs and sidewalks were constructed along the main arteries along with new pervious pavement parking lots, featuring an innovative technology for handling water runoff from storms.
As attractive as they are functional, pervious lots are constructed of loosely interlocking porous bricks. Spaces between the bricks are filled with gravel and other porous materials to allow excess storm water to seep directly into the ground.
Recessed areas with moisture-wicking plants located at the perimeters of the lots further absorb excess storm water, helping the City avoid more expensive conventional solutions, such as storm sewers.
During the second phase of investment, additional improvements will include facade improvements on buildings along Michigan Street to give the campus a unified look. A new entrance will be added just south of Leeper Park, and other demolitions will make room for further expansion.
With TIF funding through the Redevelopment Commission, the City’s Board of Public Works manages the improvements, hiring private contractors to perform the work. Funds for TIF investments accrue over a period of years from property taxes generated within that district. The growth in taxes resulting from new economic development is used for reinvestment in further redevelopment efforts.
Improved quality of life
Ultimately, an attractive streetscape and superior infrastructure are of inestimable value to the entire community.
“Memorial is dedicated to improving the quality of life for the people of our community,” says Jeff Costello, chief financial officer at Memorial Hospital who oversaw the TIF project for the hospital. “This is accomplished, first and foremost, by providing high-quality service, equipment and facilities to serve the community.
“The infrastructure improvements around Memorial and the surrounding medical TIF district support easy, convenient and inviting access for the patients and visitors to the hospital and other surrounding medical facilities,” Costello says. “The physical appearance of our facilities and the neighboring areas also plays an important part in our ability to recruit and retain the best medical providers from around the country. Professional, attractive facilities -- combined with world-class healthcare providers -- contribute to the high quality of care we provide.”
Gateway to the city
Costello reports that patients and visitors to the hospital have remarked that the campus provides “a nice gateway” into downtown South Bend.
“Memorial is owned by the community, serves the community, and invests back into the community,” Costello says. “These TIF-funded improvements enhance our ability to continue fulfilling our mission.”