Vol. 2, January 2010 - Looking at 2010


It’s the start of a new year, and South Bend’s high-tech future is looking bright.

Although some final work remains in preparing the city’s Ignition Park, Mayor Stephen J. Luecke says the former Studebaker site will soon be ready for development.

“We’ve made terrific progress in 2009, and the two remaining buildings there will be coming down early in 2010,” he says. “I’m excited about the opportunities Ignition Park represents. We already are getting some inquiries from companies that are coming on the radar. We are beginning to become a viable option as people think about making investments, particularly as the economy is starting to improve.”  Read more ...


Area leaders express views on top 2010 priorities

Looking to the new year ahead, we recently talked to area leaders about what the future holds for South Bend.

Many of their observations were formed last fall when they visited Albany, N.Y., as part of a delegation sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County.

During the trip, the group noted some common traits between Albany and South Bend. Both cities are pursuing research and technology-based economic development, and are home to major universities with nanoelectronics research centers.

But the group noticed significant differences, too. IBM was a significant source of jobs and economic development in Albany before it became a major center of nanoelectronics research. Moreover, IBM was crucial in establishing Albany’s high-tech reputation, which has helped attract new businesses like chipmaker AMD’s spinoff, Global Foundries. And, as capitol of the Empire State, Albany’s economy also is driven in large part by state government jobs and projects.

So, in the context of these interesting similarities and differences between Albany and South Bend, area leaders offered the following informed views on what might lie ahead for South Bend.  Read more ...


New Carbon Co. thrives in South Bend

When managers at the New Carbon Co. began looking for a new home about 10 years ago, they found an ideal building in South Bend.

Better yet, they also got a tax break worth nearly $100,000 from city officials to entice them to relocate from their old location in Buchanan, Michigan just a stone’s throw north of the Indiana-Michigan border.

“It was a very good move for us,” says Rick McKeel, president and CEO of the 72-year-old company, which makes the Golden Malted brand of pancake and waffle mix widely used in hotels around the world. “We could be anywhere, but we like being in South Bend.  Read more ...


Jacqueline Barton, CEO, Specialized Staffing Solutions

By Phil D’Amico, director of business growth, the Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County

I recently sat down with Jacqueline Barton, president of Specialized Staffing Solutions, LLC, to discuss South Bend’s prospects as a recruiting mecca for technology-based jobs and growth.

Jacqueline Barton is no stranger to managing business through tough economic times. She started Specialized Staffing Solutions in 2001 during a downturn in the economic cycle. For Jacqueline, the more challenging the situation, the more satisfying the results. Today, specialized Staffing has expanded to five locations throughout the Midwest. Read more ...

Phil Damico leads the Business Growth Initiative, a joint program of the City of South Bend and the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce. Click here to contact Phil regarding help with your expansion efforts or for assistance with public incentives.


South Bend on "TODAY"

South Bend's great real estate values were touted on the NBC "TODAY" show on Jan. 5, 2010. "TODAY" show real estate contributor Barbara Corcoran featured South Bend first among 10 U.S. cities offering the best real estate values, based on the following criteria: home size and value; job growth in the area; and rising real estate prices over the past year. To view the segment on the web, click here. For more information, click here.

Take a tour of South Bend

Want to see the great things taking shape around town in South Bend?  Take this tour, led by Mayor Stephen J. Luecke, by clicking here.


Quilt honors South Bend as All-America City finalist

A quilt featuring squares from South Bend and 29 other finalists in the 2009 All-America City competition will visit South Bend in early January as part of a national tour.

The quilt will be on public display for one week, Jan. 8 through Jan. 15, at the main branch of the St. Joseph County Public Library, 304 S. Main St., in downtown South Bend.

Volunteers made a quilt square highlighting iconic South Bend images for incorporation into a quilt of all 30 All-America City finalists. Although South Bend was not among the winning 10 cities selected, an 18-member delegation, supported entirely by private contributions, made a strong case for the city in an oral presentation at the 60th annual All-America City awards in Tampa, Fla.

Sponsored by the National Civic League, the All-America City award is given annually to 10 communities and, as the most prestigious municipal competition, is considered “a civic ‘Oscar’ for communities of all sizes.”

Mayor Luecke to present State of the City on Feb. 15

Mayor Stephen J. Luecke will deliver his 14th annual State of the City address at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, at the Century Center recital hall.

Presented to the South Bend Common Council, the 2010 State of the City address is open to the public and features a visual slideshow of recent and upcoming developments. 

Participants will have an opportunity to tour the renovated C hall and see drawings of renovations to Century Center’s Island Park.

Luecke is expected to highlight accomplishments of the past year and look ahead to priorities for the coming year.

Chamber of Commerce: Salute to Business Luncheon

When:   Tuesday, February 11, 2010 at 11:30 a.m.
Where:  Century Center, 120 South St. Joseph St., South Bend, Ind.

Join the Chamber as it recognizes top individual and business accomplishments, honoring the W. Scott Miller Distinguished Business Leader and the ATHENA winner for helping women reach their leadership potential. The Salute will also recognize the Small Business of the Year, and the company achieving the greatest economic impact from the past year.

A celebration of business and individual success, the Salute to Business also features a keynote address delivered by Doug Keeley. One of North America’s leading communicators and a self-professed “leadership junkie,” Keeley will deliver The Mark of a Leader, a keynote that will inspire you to make your mark as a leader in the community, yet challenge you to determine what that will take.

The cost for Chamber members is $40 per person or $320 for a table of eight. Nonmembers pay $65 per person or $520 per table of eight. For more information, click here or call 574.234.0051, ext. 274.

Construction moves forward at Harper Hall

Construction is under way at Harper Hall, the new home of expanded medical and cancer research initiatives at the Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend (IUSM-SB) and the University of Notre Dame.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place last November, and was attended by the project's benefactor, Charles "Mike" Harper, retired chair and chief executive officer of ConAgra Foods and RJR Nabisco.

"This is a big boon that will eventually lead to hiring more lab technicians, attracting top-quality graduate students, and generating more income for the community" says Rudolph M. Navari, assistant dean and director of IUSM-SB.

Scientists from Notre Dame and Indiana University will collaborate on research in cancer biology, with an emphasis on such areas as genomics and proteomics, and breast, prostate and colon cancers. More info here ...


Banker backs Innovation Park

Chris Murphy has a passion for the University of Notre Dame, and economic development of the South Bend area.
“I want to see South Bend and surrounding areas thrive,” says Murphy, president and CEO of 1st Source Corp., the parent company of South Bend-based 1st Source Bank, an Innovation Park partner.

So backing Innovation Park at Notre Dame is a natural for Murphy.

Innovation Park will play a key role in spurring the growth of local start-ups, by transforming innovation into viable marketplace ventures. It does this by bringing together the University’s intellectual assets, world-class market expertise and access to early stage capital in order to commercialize exciting new innovations. The 55,000-square-foot building also has space and resources for established companies with entrepreneurial venturing needs. Read more ...

Wall Street Journal profiles South Bend's tech parks

The earth is moving around Ignition Park as preparation continues for this year’s demolition of the final two facilities on the site of the state-certified technology park while work intensifies toward the creation of a business plan for Ignition Park.

South Bend, Ignition Park and Innovation Park at Notre Dame were highlighted in a Dec. 18 report distributed in east coast editions of The Wall Street Journal as a positive example of American cities seeking to “catalyze their economies” with research parks. More info here ...

In other Ignition Park news...

Demolition will begin in the summer on the former Studebaker Foundry on Prairie Avenue (now occupied by Underground Pipe and Valve) and on the former Studebaker Engineering Building at Sample and Franklin streets (most recently occupied by Studebaker Autoparts Corp.).

The City’s Redevelopment Commission on Dec. 18 unanimously approved key items to enable the work to proceed on schedule. The commission approved use of up to:

• $200,000 of a federal stimulus loan to perform environmental remediation work within Ignition Park on a former railroad property south of the former Studebaker Stamping Plant site.

• A $500,000 loan and a $160,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-funded citywide revolving loan fund to fund environmental portions of demolition costs on the Foundry.

Meanwhile, Underground Pipe and Valve already has begun construction of its new facility in the nearby Oliver Industrial Park. The firm expects to relocate in the spring into a new, 36,000-square-foot facility. The site is located at the northwest corner of Oliver Industrial Park near the railroad track and north of Rose Brick.

Underground Pipe & Valve, a wholesale supplier and distributor of plumbing and sewer equipment, has been in business since 1977. The company has 50 employees, 27 of which work at the Prairie Avenue location with the remainder at distribution centers in Fort Wayne and Schererville, Ind., and in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Also in the vicinity, demolition work is continuing on the former International Harvester building on South Lafayette Boulevard, while construction is ongoing on Transpo’s new operations and maintenance facility – expected to be the first LEED Platinum-certified transportation facility in the United States.

The City of South Bend is exploring the creation of guidelines for the vicinity of the 83-acre Ignition Park site to ensure that neighboring development is compatible with a high-tech campus.


Coveleski gets national attention

Media across the nation carried reports of conceptual plans by the City of South Bend to upgrade Coveleski Regional Stadium as part of a broader plan for mixed-use development in the ballpark’s surrounding neighborhood.

The multi-year strategy envisions an enhanced Coveleski Stadium with stronger pedestrian connections to the core of downtown via a reoriented centerfield entrance, a park-like surrounding and blocks of new economic development. Read more ...

Kroc Center receives funding

The Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center of the St. Joseph County Salvation Army announced in December 2009 it will receive $1 million from AM General Corp.

“We are very pleased that AM General has chosen to present this gift on behalf of the employees of AM General, as it is the community and those that work here that will directly benefit from the programs and services offered by the Kroc Center,” said Major Robert Webster, Kroc Administrator for St. Joseph County.

Also in December 2009, the project received $7.5 million in additional funds from The Salvation Army’s Territorial Headquarters in Des Plaines, Ill.

The Salvation Army will likely break ground in spring 2010.

Along with key community leaders, the Salvation Army has been raising funds toward the $10 million campaign goal since 2007 when St. Joseph County was notified of its selection to receive a portion of the $1.6 billion left to The Salvation Army by Joan Kroc widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. The St. Joseph County Kroc Center is one of only six in the Midwest and the only one in Indiana.

The Kroc Community Center will consist of a $30 million facility at the southwest corner of Chapin Street and Western Avenue in South Bend, at the former Alonzo Watson Park, which is being donated by the City of South Bend. In addition, a $32.5 million endowment will ensure the facility’s continued operation for generations to come.

Fund-raising begins for downtown St. Joseph's High School

St. Joseph’s High School has begun a fund-raising effort to raise $35.5 million to build a new high school in downtown South Bend on the former St. Joseph Regional Medical Center site.

Bishop John M. D’Arcy of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, gave his blessing relocation to the relocation of the region’s largest Catholic high school if it can successfully complete the campaign by June 2011. The school’s current facility, at Michigan Street and Angela Boulevard, is 56 years old and would need significant renovation to accommodate more than 800 students.

The Catholic hospital had agreed to donate the 38-acre site to the school after it vacates the site and completes demolition of existing buildings in 2010.

“A downtown high school will stimulate new housing construction in the Northeast Neighborhood and help strengthen the connection between recent development at Eddy Street Commons and in the East Bank Village as well as in downtown South Bend and all the urban neighborhoods that ring downtown,” said Jeff Gibney, the City of South Bend’s executive director of Community and Economic Development.

Commission Officers Reelected

In its annual organizational meeting on Jan. 4, the South Bend Redevelopment Commission as reelected officers:

Marcia Jones – President
City Councilman David Varner – Vice President
Nancy King – Secretary