Signs of change: 2023 was a year of transition

From left, Mentore Media is the newest orthopedic company to move into Warsaw, LSC Communications closed and Rocksteady Pizza Parlor was one of the changes taking root in downtown Warsaw. News Now Warsaw photos by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — As 2023 comes to an end, News Now Warsaw is looking back at some of the biggest, most impactful stories. Here are ten issues that stood out, not necessarily in order of importance.

  • LSC Communications closes, hundreds lose jobs

LSC Communications, formerly known as RR Donnelly and Sons, closed its operations in Warsaw, leaving more than 500 people without jobs. The move comes after decades of decline in the catalog printing business.

  • Downtown business changes

Downtown Warsaw saw lots of changes — likely the most in recent memory in terms of new stores, renovations, relocations and expansions. It also included the opening of Atelier, an art gallery on Center Street. More changes are expected in 2024. 

  • Orthopedic growth

It was a big year in local orthopedic news. A Singapore-based company, Mentore Media, opened a new facility in the Warsaw Technology Park while Paragon finished expansion plans and was then abruptly sold. Two much smaller firms with an eye on expanding announced plans to take up shop in a shared space provided by KEDCO.

  • OrthoWorx money

In an unprecedented move in Kosciusko County, the state legislature announced it would provide $30 million to OrthoWorx for the purpose of coming up with projects that would boost job attraction and retention in the local orthopedic sector

  • The first phase of residential work on the David Mattews development on North Buffalo Street can be seen in the background, but constructtion materials sit unused in the foreground where work was halted unexpectedly in 2023. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.

    Buffalo Street development 

Developer David Matthews LLC reneged on long-held plans to construct a series of upscale homes and a multi-use building on the shores of Center Lake in Warsaw. As a result, he lost out on a large but uknown amount of money from the state. A new plan, in which he would finish some of the residential, remains in doubt, based on the lack of activity.

  • Changes in city hall leadership

Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer announced plans to retire after three terms in office and longtime city councilman Jeff Grose, whose name rose to prominence decades ago as Indiana’s  Mr. Basketball was unopposed in his run for mayor. Juegen Voss is the only other newly elected official.

  • Winona Lake Clerk-Treasurer

After months of animosity from Winona Lake Town Council members, Clerk-Treasurer Laurie Renier resigned in October and blasted town officials over how she was treated and claimed town finances were a mess before she arrived two years earlier when she replaced the late Kent Adams. Two other employees resigned. A long-awaited audit by the Indiana Board of Accounts is expected to be released in 2024.

  • Blight be gone

Mayor Joe Thallemer’s administration was able to take major steps to eliminate the two biggested blighted properties in the city — Gatke and the Arnolt building. Apartments will soon open on the old Arnolt property and demolition is close to happening on the old Gatke property where a multi-use building project has been proposed. The city also announced redevelopment plans for the old Owens grocery store and lined up a company charged with finding a new use for the old Marsh grocery store.

  • Parks – city and county

It was a memorable year for parks. The city of Warsaw constructed a new parks office, renovated the old Center Lake Pavilion with the support of Zimmer Biomet and established a recreational trail along Center lake with funding from a private family. At the same time, Kosciusko County established a parks system that will initiallly focus on development of bike trails.

  • Hospitals expanding

Two hospitals in Warsaw continue to evolve. Lutheran Kosciusko Hospital, formerly known as Kosciusko Community Hospital, began major renovations to its facility, including a revamped entrance and surgical centers. Meanwhile, Parkview Warsaw has changed its name to Parkview Kosciusko Hospital (PKH) and has more than doubled its square footage, adding inpatient care, surgery and specialty care, and oncology services via an extension of the Parkview Packnett Family Cancer Institute. LKH renovations are still underway. Patients can begin using new parts of PKH in early January.