Muncie Neighborhoods March 2nd IDEA Conference to Feature Mayoral Candidates Forum  

(L-R): Muncie Neighborhoods' 2018 IDEA Conference Neighborhood Award Recipients—Melinda Messineo (Riverside Normal City), Clifford Clemmons (Blaine Southeast), Brad King (Old West End), Frank Scott (Whitely) Photo by: Aimee West(L-R): Muncie Neighborhoods' 2018 IDEA Conference Neighborhood Award Recipients—Melinda Messineo (Riverside Normal City), Clifford Clemmons (Blaine Southeast), Brad King (Old West End), Frank Scott (Whitely) Photo by: Aimee West

By: Aimee West, Muncie Action Plan—

Muncie, IN—Citizens of greater Muncie will see on their 2019 primary ballots, a record-setting new wave of candidates running for local office this year.  Many of these candidates are leaders in their neighborhoods who have taken the next step in serving their neighborhoods and community, by making the decision to run for office.

The Muncie Neighborhoods 4th annual IDEA Conference will be on March 2, 2019, 9:00 am-3:30 pm, at Ball State University’s Student Center.

Setting apart this year’s 4th annual Muncie Neighborhoods IDEA Conference from previous years’, is a safe space to discuss this municipal election, alongside many other integral community conversations, such as Ball State’s new regional strategic plan, its new relationship with Muncie Community Schools. the work of the 8 Twelve Coalition, school safety, homelessness, addiction, supporting caregivers, disabled and elderly persons, participatory municipal budgeting, and becoming an education first community.

This year, residents have expressed the nonpartisan desire to learn about Muncie’s Mayoral candidates and IDEA will provide an inclusive platform in which all mayoral candidates are welcome to and have been invited to participate. Registered IDEA attendees will gain access to the 2019 democratic and republican Mayoral candidates through the keynote mayoral forum which will center around attendee-generated questions, and equal-time candidate responses. Mayoral candidates, listed in alphabetical order:

Terry Whitt-Bailey, Tom Bracken, Tony Cox, Andrew Dale, Kenneth Davenport,  Nate Jones, Dan Ridenour, Saul Riley and David Smith. Registered attendees will have an opportunity to learn of their community visions, positions on complex issues, and will have opportunities to ask questions during this forum.  The IDEA Conference is not a political event or campaigning platform and seeks to focus on allowing room for civil discourse and the candidates an opportunity how they plan to address and harness our communities strengths and challenges during the Mayoral forum.

Each March, for the last three years, IDEA united Muncie citizens, neighborhoods, nonprofits, anchor institutions, foundations, organizations, leaders, experts and moving into its 4th year, the Co-founders of IDEA (Mitch Isaacs, Shafer Leadership Academy, Krista Flynn, Ball State Office of Community Engagement, Heather Williams, Building Better Neighborhoods, and Aimee West, Muncie Action Plan) are seeking to expand IDEA’s reach and engage even more Muncie Citizens, county residents and residents from other cities, who want to want to improve their neighborhoods and communities.

IDEA provides an opportunity for residents of Greater Muncie to broaden their knowledge of our community’s challenges and learn about the people and organizations tackling them, but most importantly, IDEA attendees can directly plug into important projects and initiatives which they never knew existed. During the course of the past 4 years, IDEA’s mission is to help provide information, tools, and to be the convener of citizens, leaders, important research, projects, challenges and solutions and help facilitate the honest, hard and necessary conversations our community so attendees can choose to become a part of the solution, moving forward.

IDEA collaborators acknowledge that year after year, the community asks of the same tried and true “go-to” leaders and stakeholders to take on more responsibility and while even the most involved neighbors, leaders, and community activists would agree that while there are tangible rewards and intrinsic value in the unique vote of confidence of being asked to help support an important project or to having been given the reigns to lead the way in their neighborhoods and communities, many would also agree this “same game” has them sometimes over-committed,  overextended and point out that many hands make lighter work.  Those who convene community meetings, often see the same faces at each meeting, and have a habit of recruiting the same folks and same perspectives for new projects.

Over time, it’s unfair not to bring new, motivated folks and voices to the table and to keep shoulder-tapping the same leaders to keep doing all the work.  The work of improving, restoring, changing and sometimes saving our families, neighborhoods and communities is often tireless and invisible, and the reward is when the work is done, whatever work that is, life for residents is safer, improved, and the neighborhoods are ultimately, better off.  Often the credit or glory involved in this work is elusive, unless we do a deliberate job of lifting up these accomplishments and shining a light on the way residents invest their time and energy into saving their neighborhoods.  One way to shine light on the hard work of our neighborhood leaders, is facilitating awards for individuals and neighborhoods, doing this hard work. For the second year, Mutual Bank and the City of Muncie have generously sponsored our Neighborhood Leadership Awards, for which we are seeking nominations.

Neighborhood Leadership Awards

There are many deserving neighborhood leaders who have earned recognition for their local work, and local projects which deserve our community’s support. Sponsored by Mutual Bank and the City of Muncie, the Muncie Neighborhood Leader of the Year and Neighborhood Project of the Year awards will be announced at the end of the conference.

While the registration and award nomination deadline may have come and gone, to connect with the IDEA Conference (and to inquire about attending) or to recognize a worthy neighbor or neighborhood for their outstanding work, visit us at

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