By: Marta Moody, Chairman Task Force 5—
Muncie, IN – the Muncie Action Plan spent 2020 preparing for the City of Muncie’s next strategic investment planning process in combination with an update to the Delaware County comprehensive plan. The last large-scale MAP planning took place in 2009 and although two updates have been completed since, it is time to re-visit the document with another large-scale engagement effort whereby residents help create a new vision for Muncie’s growth and investment.
Representatives from the Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Plan Commission, Muncie Action Plan board of directors and NEXT Muncie participated in a selection process that included a nation-wide Request for Proposals and live-streamed interviews with three candidates. The urban planning firm CZB was selected to provide oversight and guidance throughout the development of the next Delaware County Comprehensive Plan and Muncie Action Plan. Work will begin in early 2021 and MAP will work with CZB to find creative ways to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard throughout the process.
As we close out this year, we would like to share MAP’s successes as we approach our Annual Community Meeting on January 27th that will be both open for the public to join online and streamed on Facebook Live. Each of our five task forces will share the work completed during 2020. This is the final of five reports from our task force leaders.
Muncie Action Plan’s Task Force 5, Managing Community Resources. This initiative aims to protect natural and cultural resources, improve the community’s essential facilities and infrastructure, and promote environmentally sustainable practices. In short, we want to make the most of what we have and minimize duplicate efforts.
From the beginning, MAP has personified partnerships and that is certainly the theme throughout the Task Force (TF) 5 Managing Community Resources action items. The main action items seeing 2020 activity include:
- Support implementation of the Prairie Creek Master Plan
- Support a Brownfields Redevelopment Program
- Support bike-friendly community programs
- Encourage development of a sidewalk and recreational paths plan
- Support the Muncie Land Bank
The City of Muncie is a key partner and has moved forward with enhancing Prairie Creek Park including new identification and directional signage that will promote the park as a regional asset.
Through the efforts of the City Engineer, a major citywide sidewalk project began in 2020 and should go to construction in 2021. Members of the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee worked to renew our Bike Friendly Community status and received notice of a successful renewal at the Bronze level which will be in effect for the next 4 years.
The Kitselman Gateway Project saw major 2020 action which included an extension of the White River Greenway and placement of a new bike and pedestrian bridge across the river to connect the two greenway trails. This project incorporates 3 of the TF 5 action items – brownfield redevelopment, bike friendly activity and development of recreational paths.
A new action item, added with MAP 3, was support the Muncie Land Bank. Over the course of 2020, the Land Bank has seen significant progress – an executive director was hired, a successful relationship with the Muncie Redevelopment Commission emerged and 39 properties were obtained. The mission of the Muncie Land Bank, Inc. is to acquire abandoned and blighted property preserve it, and provide it to the public for strategic redevelopment. The acquired properties can be viewed on the website www.muncielandbank.org .
For most of the TF 5 action items, MAP’s role is one of support, encouragement and promotion. The one action that will become a direct MAP activity deals with creating a Muncie energy office and advisory committee. In early 2020, MAP’s TF 5 convened a new Planet Muncie Committee whose mission will incorporate sustainability initiatives. It is anticipated that in 2021, work will proceed and provide benefits similar to an energy office and advisory committee.
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