South Bend making largest parks investment in city’s history

On Wednesday, the City of South Bend unveiled My South Bend Parks & Trails, a holistic overhaul of the South Bend parks system. This plan is a combination of park, trail, and riverfront upgrades that will fundamentally change the landscape of South Bend’s shared green spaces throughout the city. Inspired by the community’s request for an improved parks system, My South Bend Parks & Trails projects were developed by South Bend residents through thousands of pieces of feedback, hundreds of hours of public meetings, and dozens of resident engagement sessions.

“In response to the community’s feedback, this will be the most significant investment ever made in our city’s parks system,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “It will transform the landscape of our city, address shortcomings in equity and safety, provide economic and health benefits, and improve ecological standards. The plan will pay particular attention to neighborhood parks and green spaces as anchors of our community.”

In addition to the community forums, neighborhood meetings and focus groups, My South Bend Parks & Trails evolved from the results of The City Plan, Trust for Public Lands’ Park Score, The Parks Master Plan, The Coal Line Trail Plan, the Riverfront Parks and Trail Conceptual Framework, and various neighborhood plans. Park investments include increased park and riverfront connectivity, restroom modernization and ADA compliance, additional park security and lighting, new playground equipment and splash pads, renovated recreation centers, irrigated soccer fields, a new ice rink and event space, new nature trails and biodiverse areas, new community centers, riverfront windows, and much more.

The project map at displays all past, current, and future projects that are a part of the My SB Parks and Trails initiative.

“This comprehensive plan, designed by resident recommendations, will touch nearly every park in South Bend’s system,” said Aaron Perri, VPA Executive Director. “Projects are in various stages of completion and community feedback will still be necessary as some of the projects progress. I encourage residents to remain engaged in the process and share their ideas.”

Industry studies reinforce what South Bend residents have already identified; the incredible value of a good parks system in a community. Parks and trails provide great benefit to the community through health & wellness, sustainability, placemaking, and positive economic impact. They are key factors in increasing physical activity and in cultivating community ties which connect people more deeply into the fabric of the community. Additionally, thoughtfully designed park systems solve many ecological problems and spur significant economic activity and job creation.

Entire plan information can be found online at, including a full project list, city plans and park study results, project renderings and construction schedules, public meeting and event schedules, and more.