By Gretchen Cheesman—
MUNCIE, Ind.– The Muncie Action Plan (MAP) spent much of 2021 in partnership with representatives from the Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Plan Commission and NEXT Muncie surveying Muncie’s citizens and working with the urban planning firm czb in the development of the new Strategic Investment Plan for the City of Muncie.
The last large-scale MAP planning took place in 2009 and although two updates have been completed since, we are excited to put into place the newest large-scale engagement effort where Muncie’s residents helped create a new vision for Muncie’s growth and investment.
As we close out this year, we would like to share MAP’s successes as we approach our Annual Community Meeting on January 26th that will be both open for the public to join online (click here to register) and streamed on Facebook Live. Each of our five task forces will share the work completed during 2021. This is the fourth of five reports from our task force leaders.
Muncie Action Plan’s Task Force 4: Creating Attractive & Desirable Places
2021 saw the adoption of a new five-year Park & Recreation Plan by the Muncie Park Board. As part of that plan multiple park projects were completed last year. The blighted Halteman Pool and associated buildings were demolished and a splash pad, walking trail and playground were installed. At Cooley Park a splash pad and walking path were installed and restroom and parking areas were refurbished.
At Prairie Creek Park a new office building / education center opened and multiple improvements to docks, cabins, campground, beach and trails were made. Prairie Creek was the epicenter of the first full IRONMAN international competition which brought competitors from 11 countries to Muncie.
Gateway improvements continue as the Kitselman Gateway at IN32/E. Jackson and White River moves into the project’s third phase. In conjunction with the Community Enhancement Project, improvements projects are underway in the median area at the IN32 E. Main/E. Jackson split and at the Bethel/ McGalliard intersection. The City has planted 336 trees working toward Mayor Ridenour’s goal of planting 1000 trees in 1000 days.
Muncie Art and Culture Council completed several additional “BOX BOX” projects—heretofore plain traffic signal control boxes now creatively painted by local artists at intersections throughout Muncie. The Muncie Kaleidoscope sculpture welcomes visitors to the Canal District downtown which now includes White River Lofts Apartments. Multiple new restaurants have been announced for downtown.
Demolition of the former Marsh store at Memorial/Burlington has begun in preparation for River Bend Flats, a 60 unit family apartment complex. Construction of Gilman Home Center has started at 29th and Madison, replacing the long dilapidated Red Carpet Inn. Infrastructure is being installed at the site of the former Storer Middle School for a 34 site housing development known as Storer Estates.
The City demolished 30 buildings last year and started a neighborhood code enforcement blitz program targeting a different neighborhood each week during the summer months for junk vehicles, trash, junk and dilapidated structures.
Stay tuned, many additional projects are ready to launch in 2022 that will make Muncie an even more attractive & desirable place.