- Associated Press - Sunday, November 22, 2015

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Many people living outside of northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan have no idea where Michiana is. They won’t find it on a map, either, which is why some believe a better moniker is in order.

“It’s easy for me to say, of course, that it should be the South Bend Region,” South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said recently at a local Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Buttigieg and the mayor of the neighboring city of Mishawaka were asked whether they think it’s time to stop using the term Michiana. The term dates back to 1934, when a South Bend merchants group sponsored a contest to come up with a name that represented the greater South Bend area. Michiana was suggested by 127 people, the South Bend Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1SMD2WF).

But South Bend International Airport officials decided in 1999 to drop the Michiana name and replace it with a reference to the city because it confused people who weren’t from the area. The Chamber of Commerce’s new economic development videos advertise the “South Bend Region”- including Lake Michigan beaches and Mishawaka’s Riverwalk.

“If nothing else, the name of our city is spoken on national television several times a year,” Buttigieg said, referring to athletic events at the University of Notre Dame. “We have that going for us, and we should use it.”

He said the important thing is that communities in the region work together.

Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood agreed that Notre Dame, more than anything else in the region, is what makes this area recognizable to people who don’t live here. But he doesn’t see a need to throw out Michiana, either.

“In reality, I don’t know that it matters what you call us. It’s all of our jobs to cooperate, to do the best that we can to promote not only our communities but promote our region,” Wood said.

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Information from: South Bend Tribune, https://www.southbendtribune.com

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