In 2009, Elkhart was thrust into the national spotlight when President Barack Obama visited northern Indiana. The reason? Elkhart County had the highest unemployment rate in the nation and was positioned as ground zero for the nation’s economic woes. Elkhart is in the national spotlight again, this time topping an index from The Wall Street Journal of the nation’s best communities for housing price appreciation and lifestyle amenities. It is the latest in a series of positive news for Elkhart, including a $200 million investment from Amazon for a distribution center and 1,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment downtown and in the city’s River District.
“The downtown and the community is much more vibrant and there are a lot of nice amenities here in Elkhart County that we’d love to show off,” said Chris Stager, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County.
Stager talked about Elkhart’s momentum on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
The RV capital of the world continues to ride a resurgence of the sector. The RV Industry Association says third quarter shipments increased more than 32 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, its best quarter on record.
But the region is also seeing success in other areas.
In October, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) announced plans to invest about $200 million and add 1,000 jobs at an Elkhart e-commerce fulfillment center and a 180,000-square-foot delivery station.
Also in October, Elkhart-based Ranger Distribution Inc. broke ground on a nearly 70,000-square-foot expansion of its warehouse and production facilities that will nearly triple the size of its northern Indiana operation.
Elkhart is also continuing to invest in improvements in its downtown, recently cutting the ribbon on a $23 million renovation of the nearly 100 year-old Hotel Elkhart, a boutique property that is of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection of hotels.