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8/6/2017 1:17:00 PM
Study of Elkhart County's RV Hall of Fame expansion shows promise
Darryl Searer talks about the RV/MH Hall of Fame expansion plant in front of a rendering of it in this Aug. 10, 2016 file photo. Staff photo by Sam Householder
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Darryl Searer talks about the RV/MH Hall of Fame expansion plant in front of a rendering of it in this Aug. 10, 2016 file photo. Staff photo by Sam Householder

Jordan Fouts, Elkhart Truth

GOSHEN – Tripling the size of the RV Hall of Fame could bring millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area, according to a feasibility study of the idea.

Representatives of Johnson Consulting and Development Concepts Inc. showed some findings of the study to the Elkhart County Redevelopment Commision Thursday. The study weighed whether a 60,000 square foot expansion of the RVHOF with a 20,000 square foot pavilion made sense for the area, based on comparisons to similar venues and regions.

The commission paid the two companies $50,000 to start the study in October 2016. Member Jim Skillen remarked Thursday that there weren't any big surprises in the study, but that it did confirm what a venue of that size could do to build on the success of the RVHOF.

"We thought we'd see if they should get a bigger golf club out and hit the ball a little further," he said.

An expanded venue could see $2 million a year in revenue and draw 250,000 people a year for events, Johnson Consulting President Charlie Johnson said. It's something Elkhart County could support as one of the fastest growing visitor markets in Indiana, added Mike Higbee with DCI.

Johnson pictured a variety of events, like trade shows and food festivals, at a rate of one a week. Even events that fall outside the RV sphere would be exposing visitors to the industry, he said, comparing it to Apple drawing people to its stores with a new iPhone, who then mill around and see what else is for sale.

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