As the Warsaw and Winona Lake area grows, regional planners are thinking about the future—not only for people here now, but also for the people who might move here.
So why do transplants choose to live in Warsaw? Where are they coming from? And what would they like to see happen here?
Input Fort Wayne surveyed two Warsaw transplants to give you a snapshot of their perspectives. While these answers are based on personal experiences and don’t speak for everyone, they do offer a glimpse into the lives of our neighbors from other places, and why they are choosing to call Warsaw home.
The Wises, Matt and Elisa, moved to the Warsaw area to study at Grace College.
Occupation: Nonprofit Sector, Director of Donor Relations at Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts
How long have you lived in Warsaw? 2.5 years
What part of Warsaw do you live in? 46582 area code; right off US-30 near the Paths of Deerfield subdivision, and Menards and Martin’s retail stores. We are in the perfect location: Close to 30 so we can get to either side of town conveniently, close to Center Street so we can head downtown whenever we want, and close to Winona Lake and the other parks if we want to go to the lake for the afternoon.
Where did you move from? Ashland, OH
What brought you to Warsaw? My husband and I both came to Winona Lake/Warsaw to study at Grace College. Matt’s goal was to work at Warsaw Community Schools (where he did his student teaching), and we didn’t want to uproot the network of community and friendships we had already developed, while also navigating life as newlyweds and recent graduates. Living near Winona Lake was also a plus after growing fond of the lake community and abundance of activity in the Village.
What did you know about Warsaw before you moved here? We knew it was the Orthopedic Capital of the World, that the school system was top rated, that there was a ton of lakes in the county, and that it was home to a professional summer stock theatre.
What was your first impression of Warsaw when you moved here, and how have your feelings about the city evolved over time? We didn’t really have time for a first impression. I remember us longing for community and finding it through church, colleagues at school, and the Wagon Wheel. Our experiences have confirmed for us how much we want to make Warsaw our life-long home.
Size-wise, how does Warsaw compare to where you used to live? Warsaw and Ashland are very similar. Both cities are their county seat and are surrounded by many small rural towns. Ashland has a larger population, but Warsaw is the headquarters of a Fortune 500 company, and overall, has much more for locals and tourists to do, including theatre, art galleries, boutique/small business shopping, and outdoor/lake activities. When we first came to Winona Lake/Warsaw for school, we were immediately struck by how much more career opportunity there is for entrepreneurs, non-profits, teachers, and overall business.
What is your favorite thing to do in the city? Go to the Wagon Wheel! Volunteering and date nights there cultivated my love for the organization long before I began working there. I love musical theatre, but we also enjoy the concerts and comedians who perform, too. We like the locally owned restaurants, including Cerulean, Noa Noa Wood Grill & Sushi Bar, Rua, Tai House, Oak & Alley, and Light Rail Village Cafe. We love taking our two energetic dogs to the lakes and trails, too.
If you could change something about Warsaw, what would it be? I would add an art district. My favorite place to visit in other cities is their art/cultural district, and We have such a rich history and art focus in our community. But it is overlooked because of location (or lack of community awareness). Housing is another issue I would change. If more people who worked in Warsaw lived here, too, that it would only foster better community and more involvement. Affordable and more available apartment rentals, as well as more affordable starter homes are a must!
Have you gotten involved in Warsaw’s community somehow since you moved here? If so, how? I have been active with Wagon Wheel Theatre since October 2016 as a volunteer for their youth programs. I also am a member of Rotary and occasionally participate in the Chamber’s Young Adult Professional group. I also volunteer with my church and serve on the board for Not Easily Broken Ministries, a free pre-marital and marriage counseling service.
When you’re showing your city to friends and family, where do you like to take them? Most often we take them to see a show at the Wagon Wheel. In fact, most of our visitors come specifically to see a show at the Wagon Wheel. When friends or family visit, we often go out to eat once or twice and tend to go to Maria’s, Creighton’s Crazy Egg Café, Rua, Oak & Alley, Cerulean, La Troje, or Noa Noa the most. We also often visit one of the parks and lakes, too.
Josh CrabbJosh Crabb, right, and his family have lived in several cities before planting roots in the Warsaw area.
Occupation:General Manager at Creighton Brothers, LLC
How long have you lived in Warsaw? We moved here in October 2010, just a few months before the near-record snowfall came that year. None of our kids had seen much snow before then. Our first winter back in Indiana certainly changed that.
What part of Warsaw do you live in? We live in Mentone. It’s out in the country enough that we can enjoy the peace and quiet, and we have livestock for the kids’ 4-H projects, but it’s close enough we can be anywhere in Warsaw in 20-25 minutes. We don’t have many neighbors, but the ones we have are great people!
Where did you move from? My wife and I are both Indiana natives; she’s from Fountain County, and I’m from Clay County. After graduating from Purdue, we’ve made stops in Fort Collins, Colorado; Nashville, Tennessee; and Granbury, Texas, before finally planting our roots and raising our kids here in Kosciusko County.
What brought you to Warsaw? We moved here when I became part of the team at Creighton Brothers.
What did you know about Warsaw before you moved here? I knew there was a lot of agriculture and orthopedics. I’m thankful to be a part of the agriculture community, and I appreciate the orthopedic industry. I’m glad the orthopedics are here; I just hope I don’t need their products anytime soon!
What was your first impression of Warsaw when you moved here, and how have your feelings about the city evolved over time? When we first moved to the area, we stayed around Mentone. We were busy with work and the kids, so Warsaw was just the place to get groceries, go to church, and deal with traffic. Once we learned more about the town, we enjoy taking part in a lot of the great activities Warsaw has to offer.
Size-wise, how does Warsaw compare to where you used to live? Warsaw is a little bigger than where I grew up, and Granbury, TX, where we moved from. It has everything you need without being too big.
What is your favorite thing to do in the city? My wife and I like taking the kids bowling and then to get ice cream at one of the local shops. We also like exploring the outdoors together. All the local lakes and parks make it fun to go fishing and hike the trails. Viewing the annual Christmas lights in Central Park are a holiday family favorite. The awesome folks at CrossFit Haymaker on Market Street provide such a positive atmosphere to make progress in your physical fitness goals that I start every morning there before work.
If you could change something about Warsaw, what would it be? More affordable housing to draw in more workforce. Also, more options for quality child care would aid the workforce.
Have you gotten involved in Warsaw’s community somehow since you moved here? If so, how? I am a Board Member for Kosciusko County Farm Bureau, Inc. where we promote and advocate for the agricultural community. We collaborate with the Kosciusko County Community Foundation to create the Barn and Business Breakfast. It provides an opportunity for members of the agricultural industry to network and share ideas with leaders in other industries like orthopedics, manufacturing, education, and finance. My wife and I both are active at Warsaw Community Church. I also enjoy coaching my kids in baseball and football in Mentone.
When you’re showing your city to friends and family, where do you like to take them? When we have friends or family in town, we like to eat breakfast at Creighton’s Crazy Egg Café on the west side of town.