One year later... - 10/9/2012
Wow, such negativity from other reviews. Let me shed some light for anyone who wants to know what Elkhart and surrounding areas are really like in 2012. I'd disregard the outdated reviews from disgruntled, bitter people.
My family (wife and two toddlers) and I moved to Elkhart, the white hot center of the economic meltdown, a year ago (2011). We moved here from San Francisco, our home for the past 10 years. Yes, you read that right. Pretty much the complete polar opposite city from Elkhart, yet we are having a blast. (Why we moved here is another story).
Anyways, after a year here I can tell you with all honesty that Elkhart is a definitely an up and coming city. Well, check the history and Elkhart used to be thriving, but went down some after some of the big time medical industry went away. So maybe "experiencing a resurgence" is more appropriate.
There has been a lot money put into reclaiming downtown and doing a complete renovation of the Lerner Theater. There are actually a few fantastic places to eat and grab a drink downtown (not crappy dives). A new brewpub just opened up and it is as hip/cool as any brewpub in San Francisco. Seriously. I know, hard to believe as it is in ELKHART and not Chicago.
You've got all the normal chain restaurants here, too. All the other normal things any other city has (Walmart, Lowes, Target, etc.). And all the nasty people at Walmart (check out the "people of Walmart" website).
There is an old mall here that used to be the place to hang out...not so much anymore. Only a hand full of stores left, but a couple large department stores to anchor are still there.
So is there "a lot" to do here in Elkhart? No, I wouldn't say that. But I wouldn't say that about South Bend, either. Is Elkhart clean and family friendly? Yes! There are parks all over the place and a great riverwalk downtown. I'm not sure what movies people are watching or what racial biases people have, but I feel completely safe here in Elkhart. I have lived all over the U.S. (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Richmond, VA, Tacoma, WA, to name a few). I was in the Army, and have seen and lived around "bad". Elkhart is not "bad" by any stretch of the imagination.
As far as housing...it is absolutely fantastic here. I'm serious. There are so many choices of places to live. My favorite is the Strong Ave/West Blvd area. Sort of by the hospital (which is a great hospital, by the way). The houses have so much charm and the people in that area seem to be a bit more trendy/modern than in other areas (also not expensive). However, if you want a big ol' house with a lot of land, there are subdivisions galore (also not that expensive), too. All of the housing here is very, very affordable. Which makes this area terrific for young families.
Try to get any home in California that is comparable to a home in
Elkhart...it'll cost you an arm and a leg...and your first born.
Are there "good" and "bad" neighborhoods? Of course!! What city in America does not have both? What city in the world doesn't have a "bad" neighborhood? I lived in Japan, Korea, and Germany. They have "bad" neighborhoods, too. I also deployed to Afghanistan. That was bad.
The only things I see that are "bad" are the NASCAR loving, loud ass Harley riding people. There are quite a few of those around here (surprise surprise), but hey, it's the Midwest. It adds to the character...
I hope that this review will be helpful to you in your research. Do not count out Elkhart if you are thinking about relocating to the area. It's been over a year now and we've made many new friends here, most of which are like minded, young, educated folks, some single and some with families. Chances are, if you looking at this website and read this far into my review, you fit that description, too.