By: Phil Tevis—
Muncie, IN—The Walnut St project was born out of the need to improve pedestrian safety, ADA accessibility and compliance, beautification and aging infrastructure in the Downtown area.
The final phase of construction for Walnut Street improvements will begin later this month. The City of Muncie has awarded the 2 Million Dollar contract to Pridemark Construction, of Muncie, Indiana. “This final phase of the Walnut Street project is a continuation of our City’s efforts to reinvest in itself. This will make Muncie more walkable, more bikeable and fully accessible to all,” said Mayor Dennis Tyler.
“Most importantly, open access will be maintained for all businesses and clear signage for parking will be in place for little if any inconvenience to consumers,” he added. “Downtown will be open and accessible for business, outdoor dining opportunities and many summer events.”
The project was designed by FlatLand Resources, of Muncie. The final phase of the Walnut Street project will complete the 100, 400 and 500 blocks, matching the same paving details as the 200 and 300 blocks completed last year. “The area around Canan Commons is especially exciting”, said Cheryl Crowder, Muncie Downtown Development Partnerships Event Director. “With the flexibility of the new design we will be able to expand our events.”
A key feature of the Canan Commons area will be to provide safe pedestrian access to the Passing of the Buffalo sculpture, allowing people the opportunity to experience up close one of the most important art pieces within the City. “My family is very proud to have donated the Passing of the Buffalo to the City of Muncie in 1976 in honor of my grandfather, Fred J. Petty. We are pleased that it was relocated in 2007 to act as a key feature of the City’s vision to anchor the south end of the downtown. Knowing that pedestrians will once again be able to stand at the foot of the heroic Native American statue by Cyrus Dallin, just as they did when it was originally dedicated at the corner of Walnut and Charles Streets in front of Ball Stores, is heartfelt.” —Frank Petty
Prairie style planters will be located at each and every intersection from Main Street to the Roundabout. The planters are designed to allow for seasonal color rotations. Rick Zeigler, Community Enhancement Projects stated “For many years, the Community Enhancement Project has worked with the City on beautification efforts, making our city gateways more attractive and enticing.”
According to Vicki Veach, Muncie Downtown Development Partnerships Executive Director “The continued success of DWNTWN as a regional attraction can be seen on so many levels. Housing occupancy is extremely high, the new hotel is exceeding opening expectations; the number of people in the DWNTWN area under the age of 30 continues to increase.
The completion of the Walnut Street improvements were also designed to allow for expanded outdoor dining. “We are excited about the prospect of adding to our outdoor dining area. I applaud the efforts of the Walnut Streetscape Committee for consulting with the business owners while developing the design details. I see a bright future for all businesses that choose to use the outdoor flex space” stated Kent Shuff, Vera Mae’s Bistro.
Mayor Tyler said, “A successful Downtown Muncie is important to our efforts to attract new businesses and residents to the Muncie area.