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City leaders to break ground on Elkhart River District project

River District plans// Provided

Elkhart is taking a big step towards making the River District a reality.

City leaders will break ground Thursday on the multi-million dollar project, they hope will revitalize downtown.

That area is expected to look completely different in a couple years.

Streetscape construction will begin at Jackson Boulevard and Elkhart Avenue. It will become a divided street with on-street parking, new pedestrian and bicycle paths, street lighting and landscaping.

It will be right next to a world-class aquatic center that's already under construction and near a new apartment complex with retail shops and restaurants.

Apartments will be market rate – starting around $700 to $750 a month.

The dam at the Elkhart River will also get upgrades for recreation.

Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese says thousands of people work in the county but choose to live somewhere else.

He hopes this development will attract people, particularly millennials and older adults, to live downtown.

"What I want do is, along with several others, is to recruit a large portion of them and we want them to not only work in the City of Elkhart but to live here and raise their families,” said Neese.

The streetscape project should be complete by the end of the year.

Expect Jackson Boulevard from Waterfall Drive to Junior Achievement Drive, including the Elkhart Avenue intersection, to be closed starting next week.

Flooding did not impact any areas related to this project.

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