The City of Elkhart is a story of suffering and survival.
Now on the rebound from the Great Depression, Mayor Dick Moore said the city's leading the nation in economic recovery, one of many positive statements Moore made during Wednesday's "State of the City" address at Lerner Theatre.
Like any other city in Indiana and the county, Elkhart has been facing some tough times, especially a few years ago in the recession. But it’s slowly starting to pick itself back up.
Moore said the city is becoming a story of growth, not status quo.
"When we opened up it was probably one of the worst times," said Ashley Krieg from Mini Delights cupcake shop in downtown Elkhart.
Two years ago, the owners of this start-up cupcake shop never thought sales would be booming in 2012. "It's been phenomenal, we've been fortunate," Krieg said.
Cupcakes are selling like crazy over there and remember, two years ago, this place didn't exist - so could Mini Delights be a sign that Elkhart's economy is turning around?
"We still got some ways to go," said Mayor Moore.
Moore prides his city on entrepreneurial excellence and said this business is just one of many that are up and coming in Elkhart.
And, while Moore said the city is well on its way into recovery mode, it still has work to finish.
"When people ask me, Mayor, what are the biggest challenges?, I say No. 1. is jobs, No. 2. is jobs and No. 3. is jobs," he said. "We have to put people to work."
Moore's Work PlanI’s all about being competitive and attracting businesses with tax breaks to fund new development.
"We're bringing jobs in from Norway, and Finland,” Moore said. “We brought in a whole assembly line in that could have been directed to Mexico."
Moore recognizes that financial hurdles and hardships just don't go away.
But in 2011 the city reduced its operational costs by $3.5 million ... a major leap in the right direction and one that has people re-energized about their hometown.
Pulling for Their Hometown
"I love the way we are rebounding and I think we're doing a great job," said Marty Irving, who has lived in Elkhart for 49 years.
Len Paff, says Moore is a positive change for the city. "I’ve been here off and on since 1949. I’ve seen a lot of changes in Elkhart, and Moore is one of them."