Location: Elkhart, Indiana

Activities: As the RV Capital of the World and a vital link in the Eastern United States rail network, the City of Elkhart has long distinguished itself for its strong industrial base in recreational vehicle and musical instrument manufacturing. In addition to the county’s RV industry, which produces the majority of the nation’s recreational vehicles, the City has a long history of musical instrument manufacturing and once hosted a collection of Bayer facilities employing 2,000 people. These industry clusters have been significant contributors to the local, regional, and state economies for several generations.

To become a growth community and remain competitive in the face of an evolving and increasingly high-tech economy, Elkhart is working to modernize its industrial infrastructure and build on its existing strengths to create a diversified economy. The City is implementing redevelopment initiatives in the downtown area with the Arts & Entertainment and River Districts, as well as leveraging its Opportunity Zones to attract local investment to revitalize its distressed census tracts.

Collaboration: TPMA has partnered with the City of Elkhart on several engagements, all of which share a common mission to develop a more vibrant economy with a thriving, diversified industrial base. Currently, we’re working with the City to complete a comprehensive Investor’s Prospectus for its multiple Opportunity Zones; which are a new economic development vehicle designed to promote investment in regions deemed ‘distressed’ by local leadership.

TPMA is also in Phase 2 of a robust Economic Diversification Project for the City. This is a follow up to the completed Phase 1 study which examined the economic and industrial climate of Elkhart, identifying needs of the community, conducting a full diversification analysis, and modeling scenarios and conducting impact analyses to assess the feasibility of each recommendation. Phase 2 of our work with the City will take a more regional approach, exploring diversification planning and engaging with industry, workforce, and service providers to conduct asset mapping, target industry analyses, and strategic planning components for project implementation.