Area leaders discuss Michiana's economic future with Young Professionals Network

It was a day devoted to talking about economic outlook. For the cities of Mishawaka and South Bend, that outlook seems to be looking pretty good.

About 100 young professionals came together on Thursday to learn about the local economy with an optimistic outlook.

South Bend Mayor Buttigieg, Mishawaka Mayor Wood and St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce CEO Jeff Rea all took turns talking about how the area is changing.

They all say it seems to be changing for the better.

Mayor Buttigieg says South Bend has a double "A" credit rating, the highest rating possible for a class two city.

Mayor Wood said that twelve new stores will be opening up in Mishawaka and a Hospice Center will be employing 70 to 90 people because of growth.

Jeff Rea says about 198 people have come into the business development center wanting to start their own business.

“I think we should be very happy about where things are at,” says Ryan Fenstermaker, Chairman of the Young Professionals Network in South Bend. “Unemployment is down a little bit for our area. If we look at it from the standpoint that it has been a slow and steady kind of climb back out of the recession, that's much better than these big ebbs and flows that you see where it’s not really sustainable.”

Andrew Elegante, owner of South Bend Brew Werks says, “I am an optimist, so I look and I see the value and the opportunity and the potential in a place. I think South Bend has a ton of that and when you start talking to people in that way and start conveying the sense of positivity they are getting caught up in it.”

The meeting is part of a series of regular young professional meetings held in South Bend.

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