ELKHART - The Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau is using a $270,000 grant to boost downtown live, work, play efforts. Executive Director Diana Lawson says the funding from the Community Foundation of Elkhart County will support projects that are "either not happening or not moving forward" to their fullest potential.

The community foundation's Live Work Play Capacity Grant program aims to "manage vital programs that will spur development, enhance business and nurture cultural opportunities" in downtown areas. The bureau will manage distribution of the three-year grant and provide oversight and technical assistance for the cities and towns.

Elkhart's proposal includes a downtown business development program focusing on attracting new business and growing current companies and supporting marketing and promotional activities. In Goshen, the plan involves  positioning downtown as a destination for arts and culture, starting with the renovation of the Goshen Theater. Middlebury is looking to develop staffing and materials to better coordinate downtown events and improve visitor center services. The visitors bureau is also working with Nappanee to create a proposal.