Inspire Mishawaka is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization formed out of a Mishawaka Business Association initiative to create greater economic vitality and social development in our downtown. It’s purpose is to create economic and social progress by cultivating best practices, leveraging robust partnerships, and inspiring an active community through promoting events, incorporating the arts, and influencing the designed use of our downtown.
Inspire Mishawaka is a catalyst for growth in activity and commerce in our historic downtown.
To bring together citizens, visitors, businesses, civic organizations, and local government leaders to create more opportunities to live, work, and play in the core of our city.
None of our efforts advancing Inspire Mishawaka would be possible without the support and collaboration with our partners. There are a number of moving pieces when it comes to downtown development, preservation, event planning, art installations, and more that we have planned. Having these agencies and community organizations at the table to guide our work ensures the success of our organization.
Inspire Mishawaka began as an initiative of the Mishawaka Business Association (MBA) beginning in January of 2019. The MBA believes that a vibrant business community is healthy for the community at large and is committed to enhancing and developing the commercial environment in Mishawaka.
Mishawaka, the Princess City, lies nestled along the meandering path of the St. Joseph River. The city is named after Princess Mishawaka, daughter of Shawnee Chief Elkhart. The legend of her romance with white trapper Deadshot, and abduction by her jealous Indian suitor Grey Wolf, characterizes the mixture of romance and history still found in Mishawaka today.
The city’s history began with the discovery of bog iron deposits in the early 1830’s. Settlers arriving to mine these deposits founded the town of St. Joseph Iron Works in 1831. Within a couple years, the town had a blast furnace, a general store, a tavern, and about 200 residents. Business prospered, and in 1838, St. Joseph Iron Works and three other small towns nearby were incorporated into one— Mishawaka. Learn more at the City website.
Inspire Mishawaka is partnered with Visit South Bend/Mishawaka (VSBM) through its Community Tourism Action Plan (CTAP) program. CTAP programs have been implemented by various U.S. counties and cities through their destination marketing organizations or visitors bureaus over the past 15 years. VSBM is able to provide these resources through partnerships with the Indiana Office of Tourism Development and the Hotel Motel Association of St. Joseph County.
Visit South Bend Mishawaka is proud to market, promote and position our communities and campuses to visitors, event organizers, meeting planners and travel media. Of course, we can’t accomplish this alone and we’re fortunate to team up with other organizations throughout our area to advance our destination and work towards improving the quality of life experience for visitors and residents alike. Learn more at the VSBM website.
Since 1985, the Indiana Main Street Program (IMS) has been helping communities revitalize the economy, appearance, and image of their downtown commercial districts using the National Main Street Center’s successful Main Street Approach. Main Street is a comprehensive, incremental approach to revitalization built around a community’s unique heritage and attributes. Using local resources and initiative, the state program helps communities develop and provides support for the implementation of their own strategies to stimulate long-term economic growth and pride in the heart of the communities’ downtown or commercial core.
In 2005, the IMS Program transitioned to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), where it is currently managed. IMS provides access to information, help getting focused, and community support and guidance to individuals and organizations interested in downtown revitalization. It also serves as a general clearinghouse for the latest tools and techniques in downtown development. General information, project development assistance information, and other resource materials are also available. The state program is a partner, but true revitalization success is built squarely on local commitment, initiative and follow-through. Learn more at the OCRA website.
The National Main Street Center was established as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980 as a way to address the myriad issues facing older and historic downtowns during that time. Working with a nationwide network of coordinating programs and local communities, Main Street has helped over 2,000 communities across the country bring economic vitality back downtown, while celebrating their historic character, and bringing communities together.
An exciting new chapter for the organization began on July 1, 2013, when the National Main Street Center launched as an independent subsidiary of the National Trust. This transition enables Main Street to build on its three-decade record of success, with new leadership and new resources that will help communities respond to evolving needs and opportunities in the commercial district revitalization field. Learn more at the Main Street America website.