Thursday Sept. 17, 2015
A key thoroughfare in Elkhart, Prairie Street, has been closed east of the downtown area all summer to permit construction of a railroad overpass along the road.
It’s forced neighbors to make long detours. Nearing completion, some worry about the tunnel formed by the overpass, that it’ll be a magnet for crooks, or worse, preying on people who use it as a shortcut. Some think the new overpass, with its large gray walls, will bring graffiti artists.
Rather than a straightforward update focused on government officials, I sought out the views of those who live in the shadow of the structure.
I’d travel by a building 0n Beardsley Avenue here, wondering what it was — a long, low building, looking kind of like a fortress. I’d just as quickly forget about it.
Then it came up at an Elkhart City Council meeting. Council members complained the vacant building was unkempt, an eyesore. The grass grew out of control. A huge limb had fallen from a tree on the building’s grounds and just sat there.
Then someone wrote The Elkhart Truth, requesting we look into the building — the owners, its future, who, if anyone, cares for it — as part of our Ask the Truth series. So I dug up what I could. The owners bought it for $0, live in California. It’s got environmental issues. Neighbors are mixed, alternately annoyed or indifferent to the structure.
I wrote in first person. Look here for the story.