Plans are in the works for a possible expansion of the RV/MH Hall of Fame, though officials with the Elkhart County Redevelopment Commission feel those plans don’t go far enough, the Goshen News reports.
According to commission member Mike Huber, who spoke during a meeting of the RDC on Thursday, officials with the Hall of Fame are considering a 60,000-square-foot expansion of event space that could accommodate an additional 300 units. The group has also considered asking the Regional Cities of Northern Indiana to help pay for it.
Huber said it may be prudent to explore an even larger expansion at the facility that could tap into a portion of the $42 million in Regional Cities grants.
“I’m not convinced that their plan is big enough to meet what the market demand actually is,” Huber said. “I think they could go bigger, and I think that’s what we need to find out.”
Huber proposed the commission fund a $50,000 feasibility and market demand study to evaluate the potential need for a larger scale expansion at the facility.
“From the Redevelopment Commission standpoint, if we’re going to be asked for support, we should probably know what the demand is, how big of a facility could be supported out there, what are the impacts of that, what are the size, scale and scope of events, etc.,” Huber said. “Given where we’re at with the timeline for Regional Cities project applications due this month … I think now would be the time to really fully study this kind of an idea or concept, how it might be funded, who the players and partners might be, what the impact of a facility like this might be in that corridor, etc.”
Commission member Rick Gentle asked if the facility should be RV specific, or if it would better serve the county to explore a more comprehensive convention center-type facility that could accommodate a number of different industries and uses.
“In my mind, I think we need to market it more as an event center,” Gentle said.
Huber said his vision is for a multipurpose event center that can assimilate different functions and different uses in addition to hosting trade and industry shows, while also offering the capacity to host national and international scale RV rallies beyond what would typically be held at places like the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds.
“I’m not talking 300 unit RV rallies where we’d be in competitions with the fairgrounds or other campgrounds we have, but something that could potentially leverage our position as the RV capital of the world, where we could then bring international rallies of 500 to 1,000 coaches here that you can’t accommodate anywhere else… but with the diversity for other uses,” he said. “This is the kind of facility that could certainly bolster a number of our industries through shows or events or things like that. But as the RV capital of the world, we should have the best, the latest and the greatest.”