Big changes in store for Beutter Park

Rendering of proposed changes to Beutter Park

Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood comparison to parks and investment is kind of like a domino effect. He says investment into parks means more people invested in the city.

One of those parks the mayor says will look a lot different in the upcoming years is Beutter Park.

Despite the snow, labradoodle Remy seemed to be enjoying himself in Beutter Park Tuesday, and so was his owner Isabel Fraga, who grew up in Mishawaka and comes back often to visit.

"Seeing Beutter Park get developed, and seeing how amazingly walk-able the river is now, and seeing all the construction going on definitely shows every time I come back there's something different.”

Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood says he hopes Beutter Park will be one of the next big changes in the city.

In two years, the park may be home to a café, plaza for performances, a beer garden, an ice skating ribbon that will transform into a sculpture walk in the summer.

"It's time that we market throughout all of the year, and so part of that is having a good attraction that will bring people even when it's cold outside,” Wood said.

He says this plan is part of an even bigger one – One that he says will bring more people in.

“Now that we have those assets in place, people want to live next to them, and so it equates to economic development, activity and private investments coming into our downtown and thousands of visitors coming in each and every day.”

Fraga left after college, and so did her friends. She says they were looking for that big city feel.

Mayor Wood says investments like this will attract people like her. He seems hopeful they'll choose the comfort of the river over the bright lights of another city.

The Regional Cities Initiative is funding about $114,000 to the park's improvements. The rest of the $7 million will be from the city.

The Redevelopment Commission still has to approve the project. If they do, construction could start as soon as this summer.

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