SOUTH BEND, Ind.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--It has been a place where the City of South Bend has mounted Indiana’s most aggressive environmental restoration effort to remove decaying buildings of its rust-belt past, where the legacy of Studebaker Corp. haunted the memories of a previous generation of workers yet inspired others with its reputation for quality, reliability and innovative style.
Now, the 83 acres southeast of Sample and Chapin streets in the former Studebaker Corridor will be home to a portion of Indiana’s first two-site State-Certified Technology Park with Innovation Park at Notre Dame, which is now under construction on 12 acres along Edison Road across from the University of Notre Dame campus.
It is a place where efforts are under way to invest millions in resources to capture a portion of the projected $1 trillion U.S. nanoelectronics industry, especially research emerging from the Midwest Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery (MIND) at Notre Dame, the newest of four national research centers funded by the nation’s leading computer chip makers.
Mayor Stephen J. Luecke unveiled the name for the 83-acre Sample Street site in a news conference today, culminating a communitywide contest that drew 250 entries to rename the site that was home to the Studebaker portion of South Bend’s legacy of innovation.
“Ignition Park signals that this site will spark the creativity of researchers and engineers into the commercialization of new innovative products that we have yet to imagine,” Luecke said. “The name draws on the city’s legacy of innovation and heritage in the automotive industry, yet points to our future as a launching pad for nanotechnology and other high-tech ventures.”
“I am enthusiastic about South Bend’s future and cannot imagine a name more fitting for the Studebaker Corridor than Ignition Park. This name recalls the successful economic history of South Bend while also sparking a strong interest in South Bend's remarkable high-tech economic resurgence through the naming and development of Ignition Park,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, congressman from Indiana’s Second Congressional District. “I applaud Mayor Luecke and his team, and I look forward to continuing to work with them as South Bend continues to prosper and grow.”
“All forward movement begins with ignition,” said Patrick McMahon, executive director of Project Future, an economic development catalyst for the greater South Bend area. “Innovative individuals and a skilled workforce drove 150 years of development in this community. This name represents a resurgence in local inventiveness, a signal that, as a community, we are returning to our roots.”
A “tipping point” in the decision to locate MIND at Notre Dame for the nation’s leading computer chip makers was the strong partnership between the City of South Bend, Notre Dame and the state of Indiana, according to Jeffrey Welser, Ph.D., director of the Semiconductor Research Corp.’s Nanoelectronics Research Initiative.
“The establishment of Ignition Park, along with Innovation Park, demonstrates that South Bend and Notre Dame are following through on their commitments. You are not just talking about doing things – you are actually doing them,” Welser said. “Together, South Bend and Notre Dame are taking bold steps toward transforming this area into a great source of technological innovation and product development in the future. When I look back to March 2008 when we announced the location of MIND in South Bend, and when I look at the progress that has been made since then, including establishing Ignition Park and Innovation Park, it reaffirms – without any doubts – that we made exactly the right decision.”
The collaborative relationship between Innovation Park at Notre Dame and Ignition Park in South Bend is highlighted by the new name. Companies formed at Innovation Park are expected to graduate to Ignition Park, yet continue to receive support services and other benefits from being part of the same state-certified technology park. While Innovation Park will facilitate commercialization for all forms of research, Ignition Park will concentrate on nanotechnology commercialization of MIND-inspired concepts, and on other high-potential technologies and ventures as they emerge.
“Innovation Park is designed to be a transformational space conducive to the commercialization of new ideas, and a place that provides clients with many of the ingredients needed for real-world success,” said David Brenner, president and CEO of Innovation Park at Notre Dame. “Ignition Park will be a place for these ventures to put down roots and grow their businesses once they are ready to leave Innovation Park. We are so pleased to be able to offer our clients a place to ‘ignite’ in the area, and are looking forward to many years of close collaboration.”
The Mayor also presented prizes to the winners in the public name competition. Although the final name emerged from a community review process, two public submissions were selected for their contribution to the process.