SoMa initiative hopes to attract more business to Downtown Elkha - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

SoMa initiative hopes to attract more business to Downtown Elkhart

Leaders with Downtown Elkhart Inc. presented banners that will mark Main Street as the Gateway Mile Friday. 

They also talked about the Gateway Mile Loan Fund.  It's a development plan that allows both property owners and tenants access to $1.6 million dollars for building improvements in the central business district.

Brandon Stanley, Co-owner and Manager of New Paradigm Brewing, has been working with Dan Boecher and Downtown Elkhart Inc. to make his dream of operating a brewery become a reality.

"We've already started some of the work," Stanley said. "You see we've got a mural up that we've had done by a local artist."

Boecher says Elkhart's development plan aims to draw a different crowd, more like Stanley's.

"These are the young professionals and empty-nesters that are looking for a walkable lifestyle and that's something that we offer down here and we'd like to see a lot more of that here obviously," Dan Boecher said.

Learner Theater Manager David Smith is also working on the initiative.  He says Elkhart's downtown economy has been mainly driven by events like the Jazz Fest. 

New Paradigm Brewing hopes to make their business a busy place year round, a spot for local musicians and artists to play and sell their work.  He says he's always been driven to achieve his dream as a brewer, but this initiative gives him a competitive edge.

"It eliminates that need for us to generate the revenues and build up the capital over the long term because the city's willing to step in and provide us with funding to help us along the way," Stanley said.

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