By: Delaware Advancement Corporation & Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance—
Muncie, IN – Delaware Advancement Corporation and the City of Muncie are pleased to announce that additional funds have been secured to provide enhancements to the Riverside trail project. The residents living along and near the trail route have shared their feedback in public and individual meetings, and the project team has worked to find resources to address their concerns. Among the issues cited included loss of trees, flooding, safety of pedestrians, and speed of traffic.
The Ball Brothers Foundation has granted $25,000 to cover the cost of planting 30-35 replacement trees of a substantial size along Riverside Avenue. The new plantings will be based on recommended species by the Urban Forestry Board to ensure they are appropriate for their use.
The Muncie Sanitary District has committed $100,000 to be used for storm water infrastructure improvements that will help provide relief of standing water along Riverside Avenue.
The East Central Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) has pledged an additional $140,000 from a grant the RDA received from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s Regional Cities program. The RDA funds will be used for storm water improvements and the construction of a new sidewalk along Clarkdale Avenue that will provide a new trail connection and a safe pedestrian route from the Riverside Trail to Catalina Swim Club.
“I couldn’t be more pleased that the team working on the trail project has been able to secure additional funding that will enhance the safety of pedestrians living in the neighborhoods and those that will use the trail. The notion that youth and families can get to the Catalina Swim Club without being in the street is significant. Residents expressed concerns about standing water along Riverside Avenue. Securing additional funds to address the water issues is a direct outcome of the neighborhood input at the public meetings,” said Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour.
The City continues to explore funding opportunities to pave Riverside Avenue and resolve traffic issues at the Jackson Street/Riverside Avenue intersection. The 60% trail design includes a “road diet,” which would provide a traffic calming measure by eliminating one lane of traffic on Riverside near the intersection. Additionally, the 60% design includes a trail crossing from the south to the north side of Riverside Avenue at the entrance of Pineview subdivision, just east of the Jackson Street intersection. This crossing will provide additional connectivity for pedestrians living in the subdivision.
The Riverside trail project is being funded through a Next Level Trails grant received by Delaware Advancement Corporation from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The Riverside trail was identified in the Muncie-Delaware Metropolitan Plan Commission’s bike-pedestrian trail plan as a priority route for Muncie. Trail improvements were identified in the Vision 2021 Economic Development Plan and the Muncie Action Plan as a priority focus for the Muncie community. The Riverside trail connects to the existing MorrisonRoad trail network and Ball State University’s long-range vision to build a trail along Riverside Avenue east of Tillotson Avenue.
The Next-Muncie collaborative has provided resources to facilitate the positive outcomes of the Riverside Trail. Members of the Next Muncie group have expressed the need to make city-wide quality of place improvements to create lively places, foster healthy living, and generate new opportunities for learning and working.
“Quality of place is critical in retaining and attracting residents and employees for Muncie and the east central Indiana region. The Riverside trail brings pedestrian connectivity to and from the predominately single-family, owner-occupied neighborhoods immediately adjacent to Muncie’s two largest employers, Ball State University and IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital,” said Dr. Jeff Bird, Chairman of the Board of Delaware Advancement Corporation and Co-Chair of Next Muncie.
“The Muncie Sanitary District (MSD) appreciates the opportunity to join in the efforts to improve the quality of life in Muncie while correcting a chronic storm water problem in this area. When completing upgrades and improvements of our aging sewer system, the MSD also endeavors to leave each area better than it was before we started. This certainly fits in with that criteria,” said MSD Board President Bill Smith.
“I hope that the community recognizes that the Riverside trail is significant to the marketability of our community in much the same way as the downtown, the river, and our reinvention of the Muncie school system. We should consider ourselves fortunate that the Riverside trail is being funded with effectively no local tax dollars and the project continues to respond to the requests of those that spoke at the public meetings. I am very thankful that the Regional Development Authority, Muncie Sanitary District, and Ball Brothers Foundation have supplemented the Department of Natural Resources’ Next Level Trails grant to make the trail project even better,” added Ridenour.
Trail construction is anticipated to begin later this year. The project is being designed and managed by Muncie-based FlatLand Resources, LLC.