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Bridge going up over U.S. 31 sees bump in the road

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 5:08 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Today brought a bump in the road for a proposed South Bend bridge branding project.

Some members of the city redevelopment commission questioned whether the benefits were worth the cost.

The high-profile bridge carries the bypass over the part of U.S. 31 that serves as a gateway to the city’s south side.

As it now stands, the bridge is plain and practical.

As the state plans to rebuild the bridge, it is offering the city a chance to make the bridge more eye-catching and welcoming.

An artist’s rendering shows the bridge with raised concrete lettering that spells South Bend.

Branding the bridge carries a price tag of $100,000.

“I believe we have to promote and champion our city; I just had some questions about, that’s a lot of money for a sign,” said Redevelopment Commissioner Troy Warner who also serves on the city council. “If there were some businesses on that south end of town that said, ‘oh yeah this would be good for us and good for the city’ but to me, it just seemed like a lot of money just for a sign.”

At today’s meeting of the South Bend Redevelopment commission, a motion to approve funding for the project died for lack of a second, as did a motion to kill the project.

It was decided that the proposal would be tabled and that city staff would gather data on the value of such signs.

“These are TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) monies, these are TIF dollars that we’re talking about as the redevelopment commission, and the goal of those is to use those to create more dollars, to create more business, create development in the city and Councilman Wax and myself had questions about how this concrete sign would create development,” Warner said.

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