In River Park, "neighborhood" isn't just a noun. It's an adjective affixed to a host of places most subdivision-dwellers rarely see: neighborhood pubs, neighborhood restaurants, neighborhood stores, neighborhood churches, a newly enlarged library and an active neighborhood association. The eastside neighborhood also has a zoo, a high school and a university and it is close to the Farmers Market. River Park is a diverse and stable community of young families and singles, of working people and retirees, of shopkeepers, educators and artisans. It's a place where diversity enriches day-to-day life. Add to that "The Avenue," as the locals call the thriving Mishawaka Avenue business corridor running through the center of the neighborhood as the perfect anchor.
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In River Park, "neighborhood" isn't just a noun. It's an adjective affixed to a host of places most subdivision-dwellers rarely see: neighborhood pubs, neighborhood restaurants, neighborhood stores, neighborhood churches, a newly enlarged neighborhood library and an active neighborhood association.
The eastside neighborhood even has a zoo, a high school and a university, and it's close to the Farmers Market. In short, residents of River Park seldom need to look beyond the neighborhood.
River Park is a neighborhood that people love to call home. Nestled between Twyckenham Drive and Logan Street, and between the St. Joseph River and the railroad tracks, River Park is a diverse and stable community of young families and singles, of working people and retirees, of shopkeepers, educators and artisans. It's a place where diversity enriches day-to-day life, where neighbors become friends, and where the simple joys of life are right outside the front door.
Once an independent town, River Park residents voted to merge with South Bend in 1910. The neighborhood is a mixture of the traditional and the cutting edge, with varied historic architecture being sustained and redone in environmentally sound ways, alongside community gardens and bike trails. To the north and the south of the main business district sit blocks of charming and diverse homes, with something suitable to every lifestyle.
"This is one of the neighborhoods where people came and stayed the longest," says one homeowner who has the same neighbors on both sides after more than 25 years in the same house.
Another resident had lived on 23rd Street for more than a decade when she bought the neighborhood's oldest house in 1994. It had been built in the Victorian 1800s and was moved from Mishawaka Avenue to 30th Street at Northside in the early 1990s.
"It's a great neighborhood," she says. "I love it."
"The Avenue," as locals call the Mishawaka Avenue business district that runs through the center of River Park, is a diverse uptown consisting of dozens of shops, restaurants, pubs, filling stations, drugstores, banks and professional offices that serve the area and beyond. Residents can walk to get their hair cut, their teeth cleaned, their pets groomed, or their computers repaired, and they can catch a musical performance or pick up dinner on the way home.
An independent restaurant owner says neighbors provide the support she hoped for when she opened on The Avenue. Local groups help pack the place for Saturday morning breakfast and provide a strong base all week, joining customers from elsewhere in the city who enjoy the old-fashioned flavor.
River Park is also one of the educational hubs for Northern Indiana. It is home to Adams High School, which hosts the prestigious International Baccalaureate curriculum, and Indiana University South Bend, which recently added student housing across the river. The university has long been a center for the arts, offering regular musical and theatrical productions. In addition, River Park is home to Potawatomi Park, which contains the area's only zoo, along with a city pool, two playgrounds, a band shell, and the city's botanical gardens, greenhouse and conservatories.
At least five churches are nearby, enriching the neighborhood with services and activities.
"There are a lot of benefits to having churches in the neighborhood," one resident says.
River Park has a particularly active neighborhood association. Led by President Mike Hefner, the association's five working groups work closely with the Business Association and their President Dave Nufer.
River Park Historic District, part of the neighborhood, lies along the east bank of the St. Joseph River. The district contains significant examples of Craftsman, Free Classic and American Four Square.
Visit the River Park Neighborhood website.
River Park Neighborhood Video