Chelsea Schneider, Municipal Innovations Specialist
New urban housing and an athletic center are coming to Plymouth through its participation in a regional economic development initiative.
The projects, made possible by the state’s Regional Cities program, build on the efforts by city leaders to strengthen Plymouth’s population base.
“It’s all about economic development,” Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter said, “and for your city to grow, you have to bring people in.”
Recent college graduates face a common obstacle in many of the state’s cities and towns, Senter said. Young adults want to move back to their community, or receive a job at a local manufacturing plant or hospital, and can’t find a place to live. Responding to the need, Plymouth will break ground on a project in June that Senter says will serve as the “tip of the iceberg” in creating more housing near downtown. The project, which includes 30 apartments and 10 condominiums, is expected to open in fall 2018.
And on the west side of the city, a major athletic facility is planned, with the project including an aquatic center and a fieldhouse catering to a variety of sports.
The investments follow Plymouth and surrounding north central Indiana communities being named a winning region in the state’s Regional Cities program. Through the program, the state is infusing funding into local economic development projects. The projects aim to enhance the livability of a region, by focusing on amenities existing and future residents want to see in a community.
The program complements other quality-of-life projects Plymouth leaders have instituted locally.
Ahead of Regional Cities, Senter spearheaded a new downtown park called River Park Square. The city used funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help purchase and demolish property damaged by floodwaters. The work cleared the way for the park that offers scenic views of the Yellow River, a place for the city’s Farmers Market and a bandshell for concerts. The park also features a rock fountain, pergola and splash pad.
Nearby the park, the city is extending the Plymouth Greenway Trail. The project will allow walkers and bicyclists to take the trail from the north end of the city to River Park Square.
“It’s really turned out to be a big hit,” Senter said of the project.