SOUTH BEND -- Imagine strolling through downtown South Bend past retail
storefronts with apartments above, one-way streets converted to
two-way traffic and attractive new buildings facing the St. Joseph
Those are suggestions some University of Notre Dame students offer as
a result of their in-depth study of South Bend's history, industrial
decline and potential for rebirth.
"The Decline and Renaissance of South Bend" was the title of their
presentation, the final project for an "American Towns and Patterns"
class taught by visiting architecture professor Lucien Steil. More
than 100 people on Wednesday packed into a meeting room at the Notre
Dame Downtown office to hear the public talk, with several dozen more
standing outside the door to listen.
No more demolitions are needed downtown, the students said, noting the
large number of South Bend buildings that were torn down during the
urban renewal era. South Bend instead needs to add new buildings and
attractions in the vacant spaces to complete the city, the group said.
"We need to hold on to what we have already," student Michael Hoenes said.
The students examined South Bend's early days as a frontier trading