By Associated Press - Thursday, July 28, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - The South Bend Redevelopment Commission has approved an agreement with a consultant to city create a master plan and design for several marquee parks along the St. Joseph River.

The city says the planning process is meant to ensure that riverfront parks and trails are appropriately protected and integrated as millions of dollars of new development is in the pipeline for downtown and the East Bank neighborhood.

Parks and recreation executive director Aaron Perri says the goal is to significantly enhance the city’s riverfront.

The city has agreed to pay up to $248,000 to Detroit-based SmithGroupJJR to complete a plan for the parks and trails. The agreement runs through May 26, 2017.

The first public meeting on the parks is scheduled for Sept. 8.

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