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South Bend Has Big Innovation District Plans

Public Radio International (PRI) surveys the keys to an ambitious plan to restore the industrial "temples" of South Bend, Indiana.
August 30, 2017, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The Studebaker plant, pictured in 1967.
David WIlson

Jason Margolis reports from South Bend, Indiana, about the ongoing adaptive reuse of the massive and dormant Studebaker factory at the center of the city's industrial past.

South Bend was once a thriving center of industry, a beacon for early 20th-century European immigrants. But the city, with a population of 101,000, has suffered a 60-year decline. Six years ago, Newsweek listed South Bend as one of the top 10 dying cities in America.

Today, civic leaders are looking to leave their history of manufacturing behind by literally rebuilding it.

The article allows ample space to share the words of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. Under Buttigieg's leadership, South Bend community leaders "are looking to transform the old Studebaker plant into a center of high-tech innovation." The innovation district is called the "Renaissance District."

The city's plan to attract tenants to the old Studebaker plant relies on a huge amount of excess fiber optic cable installed in the city and under the old Studebaker factory, part of a network connecting New York and Chicago. There's also Notre Dame University, which has also taken a role in community and economic development in the city. 

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Published on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 in Public Radio International
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