Little Elkhart Lake keeps getting bigger and bigger

ELKHART LAKE JUST KEEPS on growing. The picturesque village on the shore of the lake for many years pegged most of its economic health and well-being on the tourism industry – and suffered the ups and downs that went with that.

Tourism is still the major industry and biggest economic driver in the village. That has done well by the village for the past several years and continues to do so, with a healthy trend of strong continuing growth.

Village officials have wisely taken steps over the years to support their major industry, from the creation of tax incremental finance districts to support the creation and growth of The Osthoff Resort to room tax support of tourism promotion and aid to the many events and activities in the village.

But the village has also recognized that it can’t afford to put all its economic eggs in one basket – even one as strong as tourism has been for Elkhart Lake.

That’s why the village’s second tax incremental finance district was created to support expansion of Sargento Foods’ facility in the village. That expansion brought with it new jobs and new money pumped into the village’s economy and is succeeding for all involved.

Now, the village is poised to create another tax incremental finance district, its fourth.

It would encompass an 8.5-acre parcel at State 67 (Lincoln Street) and Badger Road on the village’s south limits. That’s the proposed new home for Wolf Motorsports, which is looking to move its operations from Plymouth to Elkhart Lake and expand there, including the construction of car condos as part of the facility.

The TIF would enable the village to extend services to the parcel. More importantly, it would open up the future potential for the village to expand to the east. As Village President Alan Rudnick told the Village Board, “There is a lot of good property for development there.”

In addition to this welcome industrial expansion, Rudnick also informed the board of several new residential developments in the village that are imminent and working their way through the approval process.

For far too many years, Elkhart Lake was a sleepy little village in the worst sense of that description, with little or no growth and few prospects.

Now, the village is seeing a resurgence in tourism coinciding with growth in industry and an increasing interest in residential development – and that’s all for the good.

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